The New England Revolution are taking an improbable 2-0 lead over the LA Galaxy into the locker room at halftime after goals from rookie Kelyn Rowe and left-back Chris Tierney. The hosts had more than their fair share of chances, but it was the underdog visitors who made the most of their opportunities.
Los Angeles started brightly and nearly took the lead in just the 6th minute when a clever dummy from Robbie Keane led to a one-two combination with Edson Buddle that opened up the Revolution defense. Keane took an extra touch wide, however, and Matt Reis was able to smother the Irishman's shot.
The Galaxy continued to dominate possession, but it would be New England who would break the deadlock not long after Keane's chance. Kelyn Rowe played an excellent long ball out of midfield to Lee Nguyen on the left, who raced into the area and crossed, only to see his delivery knocked out of play by a Galaxy defender. From the ensuing throw, Shalrie Joseph played an excellent far-post cross that found Rowe all alone. The UCLA product's initial volley was saved by Josh Saunders, but Rowe made no mistake with the rebound, roofing it to put New England up 1-0.
It took just three minutes for the Revs to double their advantage. After a sustained period of pressure from the visiting side, Kevin Alston found himself in possession outside the Galaxy penalty area. He played a good one-two with Shalrie Joseph, who released him into the box. Alston's low cross at first appeared to miss everybody, but Chris Tierney was trailing the play from his left fullback position and buried his chance from 10-12 yards to put New England up to a surprising 2-0 lead.
New England was not content to sit back after that, with Tierney going close on two occasions. First, he had an angled drive saved by Saunders after Nguyen played him into the box. Then, in the 35th minute, Tierney lined up a missile of a free kick from well outside the box that Saunders had to be at full stretch to parry away.
Los Angeles did not go quietly into the night, however. Without Landon Donovan to marshal the troops, it was up to David Beckham to try and drag his star-studded squad back into the match, and he nearly did so all by himself on two occasions. First, the former England captain lined up a free kick from over 30 yards that had a wicked curve on it and forced Matt Reis to explore the widest boundaries of his athleticism in an effort to keep it out of goal. Then, with literally the last kick of the half, Beckham again sent a free kick at Reis, but this one was from a shorter range and bounded off the turf in front of the former Galaxy 'keeper. Reis managed to get a hand to it, but still needed the help of the crossbar to keep the ball from nestling into the back of the net.