Well that was quick. The New York Red Bulls have drawn level on aggregate within five minutes of kickoff in Los Angeles, tearing up that lovely script we had written where the Western Conference champions walked all over their barely-qualified-for-the-playoffs visitors. And, of course, it was Luke Rodgers who got the Red Bulls on the board, running onto a wonderful pass by illustrious colleague Thierry Henry to slide a right-footed shot past Josh Saunders from about 15 yards.
If you're wondering why the normally airtight LA Galaxy defence allowed the Red Bulls to simply stroll through and score, the answer probably lies in the absence of Juninho, who is suspended for being hit by Rafael Marquez. I don't get that one either. Anyway, this is a feisty affair and naturally Rodgers gets himself booked after a little contretemps following his goal. A couple of minutes later and the Birmingham-born striker takes offence so some young lady wearing glasses on the sidelines, blasting the ball just past her head (and we're talking centimetres here) from about five yards. That could easily be a second booking for unsportsmanlike conduct, but no way is referee Hilario Grajeda sending anyone off this early.
Anyway, the LA Galaxy try to respond via a David Beckham drive, but it fizzes over the crossbar. Fortunate for New York it did, too - Frank Rost did not look at all comfortable on that one. 1-0 New York at the Home Depot Center.