Recap: LA vs Real Madrid
Real Madrid overcame a 2-0 halftime deficit as the Spanish team's class overwhelmed Los Angeles in the second half to nab a 3-2 win on Saturday before 89,134 at the Rose Bowl.
Los Merengues brought on several world-class players off the bench in the complementary period and those moves made all the difference in the score. Gonzalo Higuain had a brace and Xabi Alonso nabbed the match-winner for the visitors.
The Galaxy held their own in the first half. Edson Buddle tested Jerzy Dudek from long range and Donovan Ricketts kept Real Madrid off the scoreboard with a pair of stellar saves. Clint Mathis, who had announced his retirement earlier in the week, started and wore the captain’s armband, but was removed from the game in the 27th minute in favor of Tristan Bowen.
LA stunned Real madrid with a pair of goals late in the first half. Todd Dunivant opened the scoring in the 41st minute. Omar Gonzalez headed a corner kick from Landon Donovan on goal and the ball bounced off the right post. Dunivant came up with the goal after a brief scramble to give the Galaxy the lead.
In stoppage time, Royston Drenthe kicked Juninho in the chest inside the penalty area and Donovan took the ensuing spot kick. Donovan buried the ball past Dudek and the Galaxy held a 2-0 lead over Los Galacticos.
However, Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho had his share of World Cup stars to choose from off the bench. Into the match came Cristiano Ronaldo, Iker Casillas, Alonso and Higuain among others as Mourinho made 10 substitutions at halftime.
The moves paid off immediately. Real Madrid put the Galaxy on their heels and the home team were unable to deal with the surge of talent. Ronaldo set up Real Madrid’s first goal with a splendid pass in the 52nd minute. From the left flank, CR7 slipped a ball just out of Gregg Berhalter’s reach and Higuain scored from close range.
The Argentine then buried the equalizer 10 minutes later when he got the ball on the right side of the penalty area and sent a 15-yarder into the upper corner.
Alonso gave Real Madrid the lead in the 70th minute. Again, Higuain was in the center of the attack as he fired a shot on goal. Josh Saunders, who replaced Ricketts at halftime, made the initial save. The ball bounced out to Alonso, who fired a shot off Eddie Lewis and over Saunders’ head.
The Galaxy finished the game without any of their starters – Donovan was replaced by Jovan Kirovski in the 63rd minute – and it was not until the final moment of the game when the hosts forced Casillas to do something.
The World Cup-winning 'keeper leapt for a cross and easily plucked it out of the air, seconds before the final whistle blew.