New England Soccer Today

To Live and Die in L.A.

In the emotionally-charged sequel to last weekend’s showdown at Red Bull Arena, Mike Magee and Landon Donovan each scored as Los Angeles beat New York 2-1 during the second leg of the Western Conference semis at The Home Depot Center and advanced to the Conference Finals 3-1 on aggregate.

Although Red Bulls’ target man Luke Rodgers opened the scoring with a 4th minute strike to immediately level the series at 1-1 agreggate, Magee, the former Red Bull who had pointed words for his  former employers prior to the match, replied minutes before halftime when he took hold of a David Beckham cornerand banged it through to reclaim the L.A. advantage in the 42nd minute.

Rodgers, for his part, would not see his squad go down quietly. The tenacious attacker spent much of the night hounding the unusually leaky L.A. defense and fired four shots on the night.

But it was all for naught as the overaggressive New York backline paid the price for its behavior in the 75th minute when David Beckham was brought down in the box by Roy Miller. It was an easy call to make for referee Hilario Grajeda, who pointed to the spot before Donovan stepped up and fired it into the New York net as minute to give the Supporters’ Shield winners a 3-1 aggregate victory.

With the win, Los Angeles will host Real Salt Lake on Sunday for the Conference crown in a re-match of the 2009 MLS Cup final, which featured an upstart Salt Lake side stun the heavily-favored Galaxy on penalties to claim its first Cup championship.

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