Real Madrid showed midseason form in a 5-1 drubbing of the LA Galaxy Thursday night in front of 30,317 boisterous fans at the Home Depot Center.
It took just eighty-five seconds for all 10 Real Madrid outfielders to get a touch on the ball before Gonzalo Higuain put it in the back of the Real Madrid net.
It looked like the rout was on as Real Madrid set off on a night of sumptuous soccer. Passing the ball and combining with an air of confidence, arrogance and invincibility. Especially along the right side, where Xabi Alonso continued to slot balls between Galaxy center back David Junior Lopes and left back Bryan Gaul.
“There wasn’t a lot of communication tonight,” Lopes said after the game. “In the MLS we communicate well, but tonight we didn’t.”
Lopes and Gaul were in trouble again as Angel Di Maria exploited that space. The Argentine took down a long ball from Lass Diarra and cut onto his left foot before riffling a shot past Josh Saunders for a 2-0 lead after just 11 minutes.
“I was disappointed by our start,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena lamented. “Our back line didn’t execute well. We gave them too much time and space in the midfield.”
Take nothing away from “Los Galacticos,” but so much of Real Madrid’s success was down to the Galaxy showing their royal guest too much respect. Whenever a long ball was played forward to Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan, the midfield was too tentative to join the attack, meaning there was a 40-yard gap between the lines for Alonso.
All this changed midway through the first half as LA began to come forward. They attacked in numbers and began to string some passes together. With their space cut down, Madrid suddenly looked human as LA at one point had all 10 outfielders in the attacking half.
This change in mentality paid dividends in the 23rd minute as David Beckham swung in a trademark free-kick. Omar Gonzalez headed the ball back across goal for Lopes to tap in his second goal in as many games against Europe’s elite.
As LA pushed for the equalizer, Madrid pegged them back with a textbook counter. Kaka picked up the ball with 30 yards between him and the Galaxy’s back four. The Brazilian dropped it off for Higuain, who slotted it behind the central defenders into the path of Jose Maria Callejon’s diagonal run, leaving the midfielder with a simple finish.
It was a different game at halftime as both teams opted for full line changes. “I spoke yesterday with Bruce [Arena],” Jose Mourinho explained in his press conference, “and we agreed that we were going to play with two teams for each of the 45 minutes. For them, it is important because they are playing in the championship [MLS domestic league]. For us, it’s important, too, because we are just starting and we have only had half of our players for the last four days of training sessions.”
Arena put out his second string, with Michael Stephens, Tommy Meyer, and Rafael Garcia among those entering the game alongside the likes of Real stars Mesut Ozil, Karim Benzema, and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Galaxy young guns did well, conceding only two goals, to Alvaro Morata in the 49th and Jese Rodriguez, who finished off a gorgeous move in the 84th after being on the field for just three minutes.
Fox Soccer’s Keith Costigan noted after the game that “Madrid showed the strength of their squad, with quality replacing quality at the half.” But while CR7, Ozil and Benzema were combining at a celestial level, the likes of Meyer, Andrew Boyens and goalkeeper Brian Perk kept the three off the scoresheet with some spectacular tackles and fine diving interventions respectively.
The Galaxy, their second string, especially, could leave the field with their heads held high.
Although Arena was not happy with the way his team started, he was very proud of the commitment it showed after recovering from their shaky start.
“If you look at the games Real Madrid plays in La Liga, they beat teams by bigger margins than they won tonight. We don’t claim to be at the level of Real Madrid at this point in MLS, to be honest with you. If you play an exhibition tonight and you get a better result, it doesn’t matter. We’re not there yet. We don’t worry about the result tonight, whether it was in our favor or not ...
“You never could have put this game on 15 years ago playing the young players we played in the second half. So there’s tremendous growth in this league, but there needs to be some patience. But I think the exhibition as an exhibition was outstanding. It was a great night for the fans, and it was productive for both clubs as well.”
Mourinho ended the night by echoing his counterpart’s sentiments. “Galaxy is the kind of team that is not worried about losing 4-1 or losing 1-0. They are just worried about playing and playing well. They played a game that let us play. At this point of the season, I think its the most important thing for Real Madrid.”
The Liverpool 2013/14 soccer jersey is available for pre-order. The Reds are eager to compete for silver next season.
Bayern Munich are kings of Germany and hope to be crowned kings of Europe at Wembley later this month!
adidas has added some color to the Predator line with this new colorway. Released on May 17. Be the first to own a pair.
Chelsea won the Europa League on Wednesday. The Blues defeated Benfica 2-1 on injury time goal from Ivanovic.
The adidas Nitrocharge is the most talked about new cleat in years. It was released on May 15 and will take your pitch by storm.
One of the top soccer cleats for control the Nike CTR360 will not let you down on the field in tight spaces.
The push for more color on their cleats, adidas has added the infrared colorway to the adiZero f50 Line.
Ajax has released their away soccer jersey for the 2013/14 season. Get in the Gear.
Borussia Dortmund hears Wembley Calling and are headed to London for the Champions League final.
The new PUMA evoSPEED 1.2 FG. A great new soccer cleat with classic look and first time for PUMA to be on the cleat.