CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy kicked off their preseason slate on Friday with a 5-0 victory over the United States Under-17 National Team.
Mike Magee, Robbie Keane, Jose Villarreal, Greg Cochrane and Jack McBean tallied goals as the Galaxy overwhelmed a feisty U-17 side that is immersed in their own preparations to qualify for the 2013 U-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
With the Galaxy’s MLS regular season opener 31 days away, LA head coach Bruce Arena felt that the scrimmage moved his side along with their preparations.
“It was good to get on the field and after the morning where we were able to give 20 field players 45 minutes each. You could see at the end of both halves that we were tired so it was a good exercise that we have to go through,” said Arena. “At the end of the day, to get our team ready to play in the opening game of the regular season, we have to play games and we need competitive games. I thought the Under-17’s pushed us hard in both halves.”
Friday also offered a chance for the likes of Keane, Omar Gonzalez, and A.J. DeLaGarza to further re-integrate with the squad after spending the first two weeks of the preseason apart from the team. Keane returned from a 10-day training stint with Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday while both Gonzalez and DeLaGarza arrived after spending most of January with the U.S. National Team.
The match was the second of the week for Gonzalez, who went 90 minutes in the National Team’s scoreless draw with Canada on Tuesday at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston. In his first match back with the Galaxy, Gonzalez was solid as he stymied the U-17’s attacks during his 45 minute stint.
“It’s been good to be back with the guys…meet some new guys and be around everyone. It feels good,” said Gonzalez. “I think I’m a little more ready to play 90 minutes, but these guys are on their way and seeing how we played today, I think everyone is on the right track.”
Those were not the only changes as goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini stole the show on his LA Galaxy debut, not with his play, but with his choice of jersey number. The 39-year-old Italian made the switch from No. 1 to No. 23, which was previously worn by midfielder David Beckham. Cudicini was relatively unchallenged in 30 minutes of action, but made a single save on U.S. starlet Rubio Rubin in the 28th minute.
Although Beckham donned the 23 shirt during his six-year stay in MLS, Cudicini has his own claim to the number, having worn it for more than 13 years during stops with Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur.
“It’s nice to have it on my shoulders,” he said with a grin. “It’s not a big deal, but once there was possibility to have the 23, I was happy with it and they agreed.”
LA continues their preseason slate next week with a match against the USL PRO’s Los Angeles Blues.
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com