Galaxy Fall To Manchester City On Penalty Kicks
Not bad for what was at times a decidedly unfriendly friendly match.
Manchester City completed its preseason tour of the U.S. with a penalty kick shootout win over the Los Angeles Galaxy in a wild Sunday afternoon affair before 24,897 fans at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
Mario Balotelli opened the scoring with a penalty kick goal in the 20th minute but was removed by Man City manager Roberto Mancini later in the first half for a flashy play that cost his team a goal scoring chance. Mike Magee equalized for the Galaxy in the 53rd minute on a long range strike but the English club won the shootout 7-6 on the back of goalkeeper Joe Hart’s heroics.
“I thought this afternoon was the most difficult game we played in the tournament,” Mancini said, referring to the three games his club played in the U.S. based World Football Challenge. “L.A. Galaxy is a good team.”
Beckham, who spent 12 years playing for City’s rivals Manchester United and recently said “there’s only one team in Manchester,” was booed throughout the game by a strong contingent of traveling City fans.
Manchester City dominated the first half-hour of the match, holding the Galaxy without a shot until the 29th minute.
The visitors got their first good chance in the 12th minute, when Spanish midfielder David Silva wiggled his way free down the left flank and blasted a low shot across the goal mouth and out of bounds.
Galaxy defender Bryan Jordan took down City right back Micah Richards in the penalty box with a lunging tackle in the 18th minute, forcing the referee to award a spot kick to the English side.
On the ensuing penalty kick, Balotelli stutter stepped, sending Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders diving, before sliding his shot into the back of the net for a 1-0 Man City lead in the 20th minute.
Balotelli was back on the attack in the 29th minute but with a very different result. Silva slipped a ball through the Galaxy defense, leaving Balotelli one-on-one with Saunders. The temperamental Italian forward, though, went for a flashy spin move back-heeled shot that went wide of the far post. Fellow striker Edin Dzeko threw up his hands in bewilderment and Balotelli was substituted three minutes later. Balotelli got into a heated argument with City manager Roberto Mancini on the sidelines before heading to the far end of the bench and removing his shirt.
“In that case Mario was not professional,” Mancini said about Balotelli’s showboating. “In football you should be serious. If you have a chance, you should score.”
Los Angeles forward Adam Cristman got loose on the opposite end following Balotelli’s miss, putting a low shot right at City goalkeeper Joe Hart in the 29th minute.
Silva ripped a left footed shot to the far post in the 30th minute that forced Saunders to make a sprawling save.
Jordan received a pass from Beckham in the attacking end two minutes later but put his shot wide of the far post.
City midfielder Adam Johnson put a shot over the crossbar in the 40th minute in what was his team’s last dangerous attack of the first half. The English club took a 1-0 lead into the halftime intermission.
The Galaxy made wholesale substitutions at halftime, including taking off Beckham and inserting defender Omar Gonzalez, who played with a mask on his face after breaking his nose two weeks ago.
The new look Galaxy lineup grabbed a shock equalizer in the 53rd minute. Magee, one of the halftime substitutes, hit a volley from the top of the box that soared over Hart’s outstretched hand and just under the crossbar, knotting the score at 1-1 with a wonder strike.
“[Magee] is a good finisher,” Arena said. “It was a fabulous goal against a fabulous goalkeeper.”
Los Angeles was back looking for the lead just three minutes later and nearly got it through a quick passing sequence. Galaxy forward Miguel Lopez got free down the right flank and found Magee open in the box with a low cross. Magee played the ball back to Michael Stephens, who laid a pass off to a streaking Todd Dunivant on the left side of the penalty box. Hart charged off his line to make a sliding save on Dunivant’s first time shot. Dan Keat followed up with a long range effort that Hart parried away.
“I think for me, today was all about going out there and showing I can play at that level,” said Keat, who was singled out by Arena as one of the day’s breakout players.
Arena used the game to give minutes to some of his young players, employing the 23-year-old Keat, 22-year-old midfielders Hector Jimenez and Dustin McCarty and 16-year-old forward Jack McBean, all of whom have yet to play an MLS match.
The match was stuck in the midfield for the majority of the remaining minutes, with neither side creating very good looks at goal.
Man City striker Edin Dzeko put a redirected shot on frame in the 80th minute that went straight at Los Angeles reserve goalkeeper Brian Perk. Galaxy defender Frankie Hejduk put a weak shot wide of City’s near post in the 87th minute.
City nearly won the game in the final minute as reserve striker John Guidetti shrugged off the Galaxy’s A.J. DeLaGarza in the box and fired a shot on goal from less than five yards away. Perk made a great reaction save and Guidetti put his follow up opportunity over the bar.
The teams traded penalty kick makes until Juninho put his low shot off the post in the third round of the shootout. Guidetti had a chance to redeem himself and win the competition for City but saw his attempt saved by Perk in the fifth round.
16-year-old Galaxy forward Jack McBean had his shot saved by Hart in the sixth round but Perk kept his team alive again by rejecting defender Joleon Lescott’s attempt.
Hart, who also is the English national team’s No. 1 goalkeeper, ended the match in the shootout’s ninth round, saving DeLaGarza’s shot and scoring the winning kick himself, blasting his shot into the upper corner of Perk’s goal.
“He took it well,” Perk said laughing of Hart’s penalty kick goal. “[But] I think if you ask him, he’ll tell you he shanked it.”
Hart was also complimentary of the Galaxy’s third string goalkeeper.
“He did very well and saved some important penalties,” Hart said about the 22-year-old Perk.
News and Notes
Galaxy captain Landon Donovan sat out Sunday’s match with a calf strain and will also miss Wednesday night’s MLS All-Star game because of that injury, the club announced after the game.
From one Manchester club to another, two Galaxy players will play in the MLS All-Star game against Manchester United in Harrison, N.J. Beckham and defender Sean Franklin will represent Los Angeles in the league’s 16th All-Star game, which pits MLS’s best talent against one of the world’s top clubs. Los Angeles defender Omar Gonzalez and Donovan were also selected to the All-Star team but won’t feature in the game because of injury concerns. The match can be seen at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday night on ESPN2.
36-year-old defender Frankie Hejduk played the game’s final 30 minutes, a sign of progress for the Galaxy right back who has missed most of the season with an ankle injury. A healthy Hejduk would give Arena another back line option heading into a busy portion of the schedule with the start of the CONCACAF Champions League. “Coming into the season, that was one of the things that Bruce and I talked about,” Hejduk said. “There’s going to be tons of games coming up here and you’re going to start to see us needing to use a deep roster if we want to do well in the Champions League as well as keep up our pace in MLS.”
Next up for the Galaxy is a trip north of the border to face the expansion Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday. The Whitecaps, who sit in last place in the Western Conference, have lost four of their last five games and haven’t won an MLS match since June 18th. Beckham will be suspended for the match because of yellow card accumulation.
Manchester City finished its summer tour of the United States unbeaten in three matches, having previously defeated Mexico’s Club America 2-0 in San Francisco and MLS’s Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 in Canada. “We’ve played some tough teams out here and it’s obviously easing your way into [the season],” Milner said about the U.S. tour. “I think we’re getting better and better.” City will continue its preseason with two games in next week’s Dublin Super Cup ahead of its rivalry clash with Manchester United in the FA Community Shield.