Recap: Real Madrid defeat Galaxy 5-1 in World Football Challenge
CARSON, Calif. — Spanish champions Real Madrid kicked off a four-game U.S. tour with a 5-1 romp of the LA Galaxy before a stadium soccer-record 30,317 crowd Thursday night at The Home Depot Center.
Gonzalo Higuaín tallied at the start, Ángel Di María and José María Callejón added goals before halftime, Álvaro Morata netted a fourth to start the second half, and Álex Fernández tacked on a late strike as Real ran away with the victory.
HIGHLIGHTS: LA Galaxy 1, Real Madrid 5
Center back David Junior Lopes netted one for the Galaxy, which played close to a first-choice lineup the first 45 minutes, then made 11 changes and had just one sure-fire first-teamer — Mike Magee — on the field for the second half.
Higuaín scored just 85 seconds into the match, firing past LA 'keeper Josh Saunders after a Di María's feed from the right flank caught Lopes flat-footed to give the reigning Spanish league champs the early lead.
The Merengues got behind LA's backline twice more before four minutes were gone, through left back Fabio Coentrão and Di Maria, and again in the 10th minute through Higuaín.
Postgame Interview: Brian Perk
Di María made it 2-0 in the 11th minute, taking a deflected pass from teammate Lass Diarra just wide of the Galaxy box, cutting inside on his left foot and splitting rookie defender Bryan Gaul's legs with a blast out of Saunders' reach.
Lopes, who scored the Galaxy's goal in last week's 1-1 draw with EPL side Tottenham, halved the deficit in the 23rd minute. David Beckham, who formerly played for Real Madrid before his move to LA, curled a free kick from above the box past the left post for Omar Gonzalez, who nodded it into the goalmouth. Lopes, crashing the net, needed only a touch to knock it in.
Callejón completed a superb sequence after Higuaín's feed sliced past three defenders to leave him an open shot on the left side of LA's box in the 36th, giving Real Madrid a 3-1 lead at halftime.
Real also made 11 changes, one near the end of the first half and the others at halftime, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Mesut Özil, Karim Benzema, Sergio Ramos, Pepe and Sami Khedira seeing second-half action.
No sooner had the second half started, Morata buried an Esteban Granero chip over the LA backline, giving Real a comfortable 4-1 lead in the 49th minute.
Fernández put the nail in the Galaxy's coffin with six minutes to go, running onto an Özil's throughball to knock in Real Madrid's fifth goal.
Cristiano Ronaldo nearly added another in the 86th, but rookie Tommy Meyer cleared the ball off the goal line.
Galaxy forward Robbie Keane had two outstanding first-half chances, darting into Real's box in the 20th minute, with Real defender Raul Albiol blocking his shot, and from David Beckham's ball over the top, with 'keeper Iker Casillas diving to knock away the try.
Real Madrid, who open the La Liga season on Aug. 18, will face Mexican champions Santos Laguna in Las Vegas on Sunday. They will then head to the East Coast for games against Italian runner-up AC Milan at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, and against Scottish titlist Celtic in Philadelphia on Aug. 11.
The Galaxy heads north for a critical Western Conference showdown Sunday at Seattle (9 pm ET/6pm PT, ESPN2).