CARSON, Calif.— The LA Galaxy will take on Spanish giants Real Madrid for a third straight year on Thursday evening, but this time there will be one big difference.
Galaxy discuss Real Madrid match
Rather than stage the match at the massive venues of the Rose Bowl (2010) in Pasadena or the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (2011), Thursday’s friendly will take place at the far more intimate setting at The Home Depot Center. While the match won’t have the crowds of 89,134 and 56,211 as in years past, the club does expect a crowd similar to the record setting crowd of 30,281 that attended last November’s MLS Cup Final.
Something that the Galaxy believe will be a plus heading into Thursday’s match.
“Our stadium is [nearly] sold out for this game,” said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, who admitted that his preference is to play all friendlies at The HDC in the future. “It’s a better facility [then in the past], a better atmosphere and it has all the makings for this to be a better game than it was last year.”
Staging a top tier friendly at The Home Depot Center is nothing new as the Galaxy hosted English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur on July 24th, reigning Premier League Champions Manchester City in 2011 and Real Madrid in 2005—all three games drawing capacity or near-capacity crowds.
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With the likes of Cristano Ronaldo, Iker Casillas, Xabi Alonso and a plethora of others set to take the field at The Home Depot Center, the Galaxy believe that it can only benefit all that attend.
“It’ll be more intimate,” said Galaxy captain Landon Donovan after the team’s training on Thursday. “It’s good, our fans will really enjoy it and the casual fans that come to see it will enjoy it a little more because when you observe a closer setting like that it makes the game more exciting and you feel more like a real soccer atmosphere.
“At the end of the day, who doesn’t want to play against Real Madrid at their own stadium,” added Donovan. “So we’re very lucky that we get to do that.”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider