MIAMI— It will be Italian giants AC Milan standing in between the LA Galaxy and third place in the Guinness International Champions Cup on Wednesday at Sun Life Stadium in Miami.
The 18-time Serie A and seven-time UEFA Champions League winners qualified for the ICC Third Place Game after finishing second in the East group of the competition thanks to their 2-1 win over Valencia on July 27. The two sides each finished with two points but Milan claimed the second spot thanks to the head-to-head tiebreaker, which left Valencia in third. Eager to repeat their 3-1 victory over reigning Serie A titleholders Juventus, the Galaxy are enthusiastic for their shot at Milan.
“Every team that we face in this tournament is a huge experience for us. It’s nice to see players and teams from big leagues, and see how they play on the field,” midfielder Marcelo Sarvas told LAGalaxy.com following LA’s training session at Florida International University. “I think that everyone expected us to be in last place, but now we’re playing for third place. We have to put the Galaxy brand in the best scenario.”
The Galaxy have certainly performed well in the ICC as they gave a fair account of themselves in a 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid before defeating Juventus at Dodger Stadium by the same scoreline.
The match will be the second time that LA have tussled with the Rossoneri (Red-and-Blacks) in their history as the Galaxy earned a 2-2 draw with Milan at The Home Depot Center in July 2009. The rosters of both clubs have changed drastically since that match as all four goal scorers –Thiago Silva and Filippo Inzaghi for Milan and Alan Gordon and Bryan Jordan for the Galaxy–have moved on.
At Sun Life Stadium, the Galaxy will take on a Milan side that boasts a number of international superstars such as, Ghanaian stars Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari as well as young Italian stars Mario Balotelli and Stephan El Shaarawy.
“It’ll be fun. Getting those guys again, they’re one of the top clubs around the world, these experiences are great. We’ll take full advantage of it,” said defender Todd Dunivant. “It’ll be a good challenge for us without a doubt…It’ll be fun, we’re looking forward to it.”
Even though the tournament may just be an exhibition and another opportunity for the Galaxy to steady them before a hectic autumn schedule, Sarvas admits that “no one is here to lose.”
“Anytime that you step on the field with the Galaxy jersey, you have to go with the mentality to go win,” said Sarvas. “Every time that you play games like this, it’s important for the team and the club to prove that we can do it.”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com