Bruce Arena Cristiano Ronaldo

Real Raids the Galaxy

2:50 PMGoalChatter

Ronaldo's bicycle kick.
A record crowd of 30,317 fans at Home Depot Center witnessed one of the best teams in the world take on the likes of David Beckham and Landon Donovan. Madrid sped off like a Formula-1 race-car. Gonzalo Higuain was a star on the pitch; he played a phenomenal game, scoring Madrid's first goal on the 3rd minute. Di Maria dribbled the ball skillfully and got a through ball to Higuain, who netted the ball right in the middle. The Spaniards outran L.A. in every combination imaginable. Higuain was quick, but often hasty, and his speed got the better of him on the 9th minute. He had a run on the right flank, but his shot went wide of the upper left corner of the far post. Higuain's flops were made up for by none other than his teammate and the guru of assists Di Maria, who easily found a hole in the Galaxy defense and shot in number two from the right side. His next attempt was cleared by the defense. David Beckham helped with the set pieces, but the former Madrid star's teammates just couldn't keep up with Higuain and Co. The Galaxy had a bit of possession. Robbie Keane got a great pass from Landon Donovan, but the ball ricocheted away from reach. The Galaxy scored their only goal of the match after Beckham's free kick delivery was picked up by Omar Gonzalez. The talented defender headed the ball toward Lopes, who netted it in with his upper body. The Galaxy's time to shine was over, as Callejon scored the third goal for Madrid from a cross by none other than Higuain. A sloppy attack by the latter was cut short by keeper Saunders and the LA defense. A Madrid corner bore no result, and the match was 1:3 at halftime.

The second half started out in much the same way as the first. The Galaxy defense stood petrified as Alvaro Morata made a run and played past the subbed in LA keeper Brian Perk. Despite Bruce Arena's subbing in an all-new roster, Mike Magee was one of the few players visible on the pitch. Cristiano Ronaldo came in for the second half and met the expectations of Madrid fans by being at the center at nearly every attack from then on. Both teams soon grew silent, yet Madrid was still getting more of the ball than LA's fresh legs. The Galaxy had some success in putting pressure on the Spaniards. A free kick near the box resulted in an attempt for Magee, but his shot went too high. LA saved themselves in the nick of time; Perk kept calm and blocked Ronaldo's shot on goal on the 78th minute, and prevented Morata's double on the 78th. The MLS team's luck grew thin, and a one-two touch combination featuring Karim Benzema led to what Taylor Twellman called "a good, simple finish" by Rodriguez. Benzema set up a nice attack again, and Cristiano Ronaldo had an equally beautiful bicycle kick that, unfortunately for him, was taken by Perk. The score could have well been 1:6 on the 86th minute. Benzema's run set up a third chance, but Ronaldo couldn't get a hold of the ball. Mesut Ozil had a go but missed the open net. Benzema himself dived in the penalty box on the last minute, but the referee remained alert, no penalty was given, and the whistle blew to signal the end to another terrific friendly. During a halftime interview, Bruce Arena was asked whether the match would impact the mood of his team going into their next game of the MLS. Arena wisely replied that the Galaxy probably won't be playing Madrid too often. All in all, the game provided a great opportunity for the Galaxy to learn from some of the best players out there. Madrid did not disappoint.

Herbalife World Football Challenge
Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Real Madrid - 1:5 (1:3)
                                    0:1 Higuain ('3)
                                    0:2 Di Maria ('11)
1:2 Lopes ('23)
                                    1:3 Callejon ('36)
                                    1:4 Morata ('49)
                                    1:5 Rodriguez ('84)

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