CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy defeated Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles 6-2 in the club’s penultimate preseason match before the start of the MLS regular season on March 3.
The match was a barn burner that featured several impressive goals including a brace by LA left back Bryan Gaul. Robbie Keane and Leonardo opened the scoring in the first half, but in the second half, the match really took as the team’s traded goals in quick succession.
Bryan Gaul’s brilliant finish opened the scoring before Tijuana pulled to within two with a strike from Luis Garcia Carmona. In the 80th minute, Hector Jimenez extended LA’s lead to three with a calm right-footed strike. Three minutes later, Jack McBean calmly headed home a deflection that put him alone on the goal. Tijuana pulled a second goal back in the 83rd minute off a curling free kick by Bruno Piceno.
Gaul finished the scoring in the first minute of stoppage time with a deft chip shot into an empty Xolos net.
LA ends their preseason slate on Friday against the Colorado Rapids at UC Santa Barbara’s Harder Stadium.
A few notes on the match:
LA began the match in the following lineup:
*Referee Juan Guzman dished out six yellow cards—three to each team---and two red cards—one to each side. Rafael Garcia was shown a red card in the 47th minute, two minutes after coming on to the field and Tijuana’s Luis Trujillo was given his red in the 72nd minute, just a minute after he checked into the match.
*The match was the second time this preseason that A.J. DeLaGarza and Sean Franklin were partnered on the right side – the first coming in a preseason victory against UCLA. When asked about this, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena told reporters that LA is “looking for a little bit of cover in all the positions.”
*It was also the second time that Leonardo and Omar Gonzalez were paired in central defense. The duo started the second half of last Saturday’s scoreless draw against Gangwon FC together.
*Robbie Keane donned the captain’s armband for the match and is expected by many to serve as the club’s captain once the season begins. Throughout the first half, Keane showed the willingness to drift into deep midfield in order to kick start Galaxy attacks.
*Arena lauded Keane for his contributions on Tuesday: “He was very good and showed a really good attitude early in the game and obviously, scored a good goal and did a lot of good things.
*From the start, Bryan Gaul was aggressive in the attack, pushing up so far into midfield that at times Colin Clark appeared to be more of a third forward than a left wing.
*LA ended the game in the following formation:
*Once Charlie Rugg entered the match, he repeatedly checked forward to assist Magee with LA moving into a 4-3-2 formation at times. Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena implied in the post game press conference that Rugg would started up top had Juan Guzman not sent off midfielder Rafael Garcia in the 47th minute.
*Arena on Garcia’s red card: “It doesn’t help in an exhibition game, but maybe it is a lesson for Rafa. He certainly came in a little late, although I don’t think it was a red card. It was an interesting exercise for the guys…You can say that [it was positive to go 10 v. 11 for several minutes], but there were so many changes going on that it is a little unfair for the guys on the field because you want them to play against even numbers. Jack McBean quickly became a right-sided midfielder in the exercise and that made it a little bit awkward, but it’s all part of it.”
*Greg Cochrane once again put another solid performance appearing very energetic on the left side and provided the assist on Hector Jimenez’s goal in the 80th minute.
*Arena on Matheus Ferreira, the club’s Brazilian trialist: “Solid. Not pressed to do a whole lot of defending at the end. Those two center backs at the end [Kofi Opare and Ferreira] need a little bit of work on their positioning and communication, but for the first time out with them together, they did fine.
*Tommy Meyer missed his second straight preseason match due to a strained hamstring that he suffered in practice. Arena told reporters that the club is evaluating the defender and the injury may cause him to miss the start of the season.
*Heading into their final preseason game of the year on Friday against the Rapids, LA are 4-1-1 this preseason.