Following Tuesday’s training session, the Red Bulls didn’t want anything to do with the talk about whether they are a cheap team.
The controversy comes from comments made by Galaxy midfielder Landon Donovan following Sunday’s 1-0 road win by Los Angeles in the first leg of their playoff series with the Red Bulls.
Donovan cited his 11-year career in MLS and called New York a “disgrace,” who have been playing overtly physical soccer throughout the year. He was specifically appalled at what he saw as dirty play from the Red Bulls, saying “in all my years in this league, I’ve not played against a cheaper team.”
Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe brushed Donovan’s remarks aside.
“Let them talk,” Backe said. “We are at another level.”
On Sunday, in their playoff win, the Galaxy committed 10 fouls, the Red Bulls nine — both numbers below the season average for either team.
The Red Bulls committed the sixth-most fouls in the league — 420 over a 34-game regular season or 12.35 fouls per game. Conversely, the Galaxy committed 396 fouls during the course of the regular season, or an average of 11.65 fouls per game. That is less than a foul per game difference.
“This is playoff soccer. When you’re in this league long enough, you realize that the playoffs are a different season,” Red Bulls midfielder Dax McCarty said. “The intensity kicks up a gear, teams want to win that much more. I’m not surprised by the physical play. I think both teams were playing just as physical. I don’t think we were any more physical than the Galaxy we were.”
Follow Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer for in-depth coverage of the Red Bulls as they fight to stay alive in the playoffs.