Galaxy head to Newcastle, Australia to culminate successful 2010

Supporters’ Shield winners to face A-League’s Jets on Saturday

Mike Magee

Photo Credit: 
German Alegria

CARSON,
Calif. - The
LA Galaxy are about to take a season-ending trip to another country, but it's not the one they had been counting on. If it had been up to them, they would be in Toronto preparing for Sunday's MLS Cup against the Colorado Rapids, but a 3-0 loss to FC Dallas in last weekend's Western Conference Championship ruined those hopes.

Their
backup plan, however, isn't too bad.

The
Galaxy will leave on Tuesday for Australia, where they will take part
in The Qantas Challenge, an international friendly against the Newcastle United Jets
of the Hyundai A-League. The game will be televised live by Fox Soccer Channel
next Saturday at midnight and the team will return the following day.

"It
would have been nice if we were leaving from Toronto," the Galaxy's Mike Magee said with a grin.

This
will mark the Galaxy's second visit to Australia in the last four years. The club played Sydney FC in front of more than 80,000 fans at Telstra Stadium in November, 2007.

The
Galaxy's Landon Donovan remembers that earlier trip as not particularly
pleasant, and it had nothing to do with a 15-hour flight or Australian hospitality.

"A
few years ago when (former Galaxy coach) Ruud (Gullit) was here, it was almost like preseason at the end of the season," Donovan recalled. "He put guys through really difficult training sessions and it was a really difficult trip.

"This
time I think its going to be a lot of fun. (Current Galaxy head coach) Bruce (Arena) obviously understands what the trip is about. We want to go and be entertaining and enjoy the game.

"I'm
actually excited about it. It will be a fun game to play in."

Veteran
defender Gregg Berhalter said the trip will be a good chance to expand the MLS brand to another continent.

"I
think it will be good for an MLS team to go to Australia and play an exhibition game," he said. "On the other side of the coin, it's nice for us to unwind, recap the season and get ready to go on vacation."

Added
Todd Dunivant, "You'd rather have it be a celebratory trip, but at the end of the day it's not the worst trip in the world going to Australia
and going for a game."

Dunivant
admitted he and his teammates don't know a thing about their upcoming opponent - the Jets currently are ninth in the A-League and won the league's Grand Final in 2008 -- but was confident time will be well-spent.

"We're
going to go over, have fun and put on a good show, hopefully," he said.

The
trip will be the first visit to Australia
for Magee and Omar Gonzalez, who said they are looking at the trip from another perspective. It will mark their last chance to be around popular outgoing veterans
Chris Klein and Eddie Lewis, both of
whom recently announced their retirements.

Photo Gallery: Best of Chris Klein | Photo Gallery: Best of Eddie
Lewis

"It's
just an added bonus to spend time with those guys," Gonzalez said.

Said
Magee, "We're getting a chance to go to Australia and celebrate a couple of guys' careers, and we're celebrating a good season even though it didn't end the way we wanted to.

"It's
going to be fun. This is a great group of guys and I enjoy being around them."

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Related:
LA Galaxy announce travel roster for The Qantas Challenge vs Newcastle Jets
Friendly vs Newcastle to be shown live on FSC
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