Romain Alessandrini (7) made life miserable for the Red Bulls and Sacha Kljestan in the opening half. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)
By Michael Lewis
HARRISON, N.J. — There’s no doubt about it. The Red Bulls are in the midst of their first full-blown crisis of the Major League Soccer season.
How can you explain three consecutive loses and poor play in general?
The latest debacle occurred Sunday at Red Bull Arena when they met their match against the LA Galaxy, the lowly LA Galaxy, which had won only twice in its opening nine games.
Make it three wins for the Galaxy (3-5-2), which recorded a 3-1 triumph over the Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena, snapping New York’s regular-season home unbeaten streak at 19 games.
Romain Alessandrini led the way with two goals and was fouled in the penalty area to set up Giovani dos Santos’ penalty kick.
The Red Bulls? The less said the better about them as they fell to 5-6-1, losing for the first time here in the regular season since a 2-0 defeat to Sporting Kansas City in more than 13 months, or April 9, 2016.
Daniel Royer’s goal in the third minute of stoppage time spared the team from suffering its third straight shutout as it snapped a 289-minute scoreless streak.
LA’s Bradley Diallo was red carded by referee Jose Carlos Rivero for a hard tackle on Felipe in the 90th minute.
In a rather unlike-Red Bulls first half, the home team struggled while the reeling Galaxy pushed forward and created opportunities.
Alessandrini converted two chances within a short time to lift the visitors to an early 2-0 advantage.
He fired a free kick from the right side through the penalty area that no one on either team touched and past goalkeeper Luis Robles early in the eighth minute.
The Red Bulls lost the ball after the ensuring kickoff, Alessandrini rammed a shot that a sprawled Robles managed to get his hands on, but the ball had enough forced that he bounded into the net for his sixth goal of the season and a 2-0 bulge.
New York was fortunate the Galaxy did not add to their lead as center back Aaron Long was forced to take down Giovani dos Santos just outside the top of the penalty area a minute into
A sliding Bradley Wright-Phillips came agoninzly close to a right-wing cross in the 38th minute, but he just missed Alex Muyl’s feed, from point-blank range.
Muyl did not see the start of the second half as head coach Jesse Marsch pulled him for Mike Grella in an attempt to get some fresh legs into the match. In the 63rd minute, defensive midfielder Sean Davis was replaced by forward Fredrik Gulbrandsen as the Red Bulls looked for some more zing in their attack.
Those moves did not pay off as though life went from bad to worse later in the half. Alessandrini helped set up LA’s third goal when he was taken down in the box by Grella. A minute later, dos Santos converted his third goal of the season, placing the ball into the lower right corner as Robles dove the other way in the 78th minute.