Galaxy fall on PKs in Beckham's return

LA get 2-2 regulation draw with Club Tijuana in San Diego

Beckham vs Tijuana

Photo Credit: 
German Alegria / LAGalaxy.com

SAN DIEGO – Perhaps the biggest question the LA Galaxy have faced this preseason is how to replace Edson Buddle.

Does newcomer Chad Barrett play alongside fellow newcomer Juan Pablo Angel? Or does Landon Donovan move up top and create room for first-rounder Paolo Cardozo in the midfield.

The answers? Yes, and yes.

Barrett paired with Angel for the second half of Wednesday’s Galaxy friendly against Xoloitzcuintles at Torero Stadium at the University of San Diego. Cardozo started the match as the Galaxy sent out a 4-3-2-1 formation with Angel the lone striker for the first 45 minutes.

GALLERY: Check out action shots from the match

Early returns? Each is a work-in-progress. The Galaxy tied Xoloitzcuintles 2-2 but the match was decided in penalties. Xolos won the shootout by 4-3.

“I thought it was a good game. We got some important match fitness in for a number of players,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. “For an exhibition game, it was hard-fought, good for the fans who came out.”

The match was not the only preseason friendly the Galaxy has played but it was the only match in an actual game-like setting. An announced crowd of 6,124 took in the game in the cozy confines of Torero Stadium, one-time home of the WUSA’s San Diego Spirit. It was also the first time the Galaxy’s big three of Donovan,  Angel and David Beckham played on the same field together.

Also, the setting was ideal for the Galaxy to work out the kinks that can’t be solved in training.

“We’ve got to figure out problems quicker on the field, tactically figure things out a little faster,” Donovan said. “Overall it was okay. Our fitness was pretty good and two weeks out, we feel pretty close.”

The Galaxy had both plusses and minuses to take away from the game. Beckham was dangerous on set pieces and set up the Galaxy’s first goal, knocking in a 42nd-minute corner kick to Omar Gonzalez, who headed the ball into the back of the net.

However, the Galaxy struggled to piece together many dangerous scoring opportunities in the run of play throughout the night. Donovan knocked a ball into the back of the net from point-blank range on a Galaxy counterattack, but it was a defensive error from a Xolos defender that left Donovan completely unmarked in front of goal in the 75th minute.

The Galaxy had their own defensive mistakes in the match. Armando Pulido found a seam in the Galaxy’s backline and slipped into the penalty area alone before burying the ball into the back of the net late in the first half, minutes before Gonzalez’s goal.

“I don’t think the one you saw will be our starting lineup,” Arena said. “Obviously a number of those players will be on the field but it was good for us to look at some of the things we’re doing and make some decisions on tactical formations and players and those kinds of things.”

After Donovan put the Galaxy ahead, Frankie Hejduk was whistled for a foul in the penalty area. Aronio Maduena converted the ensuing penalty kick to level terms.

Xolos claimed victory via the shootout afterward and also won the respect of Galaxy players and coaches.

“Every Mexican team can play football. It doesn’t matter in what division they’re in. The whole country revolves around soccer. It’s what they live and breathe,” Beckham said. “It’s in their blood to play great soccer as well. They’re talented players.”

Scoring Summary:
Tij– David Pulido (Gilberto Mora) 39'
LA – Omar Gonzalez (David Beckham) 41'
LA - Landon Donovan (Chris Birchall) 75'
Tij - Luis Orozco (Penalty kick) 81'

Penalty Kicks
LA - Landon Donovan (Goal)
Tij - Gilberto Rosa (Blocked)
LA - Mike Magee (Goal)
Tij - Alejandro Molina (Goal)
LA - Miguel Lopez (Blocked)
Tij - Luis Orozco (Goal)
LA - Chad Barrett (Goal)
Tij - Oscar Otreras (Goal)
LA - Jovan Kirovski (Blocked)
Tij - Javier Yacuzzi (Goal)

Misconduct Summary:
LA – Leonardo (Yellow Card) 27’
Tij – Felix Ayala (Yellow Card) 28’

Lineups:
LA Galaxy: Donovan Ricketts (Josh Saunders 65') Sean Franklin (Frankie Hejduk 62') Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza (Todd Dunivant 46'); Chris Birchall (Mike Magee 87'), Juninho (Jovan Kirovski 87'), David Beckham (Michael Stephens 74'), Landon Donovan©; Paolo Cardozo (Chad Barrett 46'), Juan Pablo Angel (Miguel Lopez 82')

Club Tijuana: Adrian Zemeno, Richard Ruiz (Antonio Maduena 71'), Alejandro Molina, Javier Yacuzzi; Javier Gandolfi (Oscar Otreras 46'), Fernando Santana (Sergio Rosas 46'), Felix Ayala (Jesus Gutierrez 46'), Joe Corona (Bruno Piceno 67'), Gilberto Mora; Armando Pulido (Gerardo Galindo 46'), Mauro Gerk (Luis Orozco 46').

Notes:
• Even though the LA Galaxy lost in the penalty shootout, the game is officially recorded as a 2-2 draw. With the draw, Galaxy are now 2-1-3 against professional competition this preseason.
• Club Tijuana struck first in the 39th minute with a strike from Armando Pulido, causing the Galaxy to fall behind 1-0.
• The Galaxy struck back with the equalizer two minutes later. Omar Gonzalez scored the game-tying goal, heading home a corner kick from David Beckham in the 41st minute.
• David Beckham made his first start with the Galaxy this preseason. He went 74 minutes and assisted on the game-tying goal late in the first half.
• In the second half, Landon Donovan scored a go-ahead goal, briefly giving the Galaxy a 2-1 lead in the 79th minute. On the play, Chris Birchall received the ball out wide and from outside the box picked out Donovan. Donovan, who was inside the box, beat his defender and slammed the ball past goalkeeper Adrian Zemeno.
• In the 81st minute, after drawing a penalty kick, Tijuana converted a penalty kick to equal the score 2-2. Luis Orozco, who came on for Mauro Gerk to start the second half, was the one to convert the PK.
• After a couple of close chances from both team in the final minutes of the game, the game ended 2-2 and the match went into a penalty shootout.
• Galaxy took the early lead in the shootout, with Landon Donovan converting his opportunity and goalkeeper Josh Saunders denying Sergio Rosas. Galaxy went on to convert two of their next four, while Tijuana converted all four of their opportunities.
• Galaxy starting goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts made two saves in the game in 65 minutes of playing time. He was replaced by Josh Saunders, who recorded one save in 25 minutes played.
• Throughout the game, the Galaxy outshot Tijuana 10-4, also outshooting their opponents on Shots on Target 6-5.
• Following the game, the club returned to The Home Depot Center, where the squad will be based out of for the remainder of preseason as they finish preparations for the start of the season.
• The Galaxy open the 2011 MLS season on Tuesday, March 15 when they head to Seattle to take on the Sounders FC at Qwest Field at 6:30 p.m. in MLS First Kick, presented by Dick's Sporting Goods. The game will be shown live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes as well as online at ESPN3.com.
• On Sunday, March 20, the Galaxy will host the New England Revolution in their home opener, presented by Pechanga Resort & Casino, at 5 p.m. at The Home Depot Center. Tickets are available now, starting as low as $25. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE

Purchase 2011 single game tickets and download the Galaxy schedule to your desktop or mobile calendar. Visit www.lagalaxy.com/schedule.