Recap: LA down Melbourne on PKs to close Asia Pacific Tour

LA Galaxy 2, Melbourne Victory 2
Galaxy win 4-3 on penalties

Asia Pacific Tour 2011
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Etihad Stadium – Melbourne, Australia

The LA Galaxy completed their Asia Pacific Tour with a 4-3 penalty shootout win over the Melbourne Victory on Tuesday night following a 2-2 draw in regulation. A pair of Robbie Keane penalties allowed the Galaxy to erase a 2-0 deficit and reach the shootout, where Josh Saunders saved the Victory’s final attempt and Paolo Cardozo stepped up to convert the game-clinching penalty.

WATCH: Arena, Beckham Postgame Reaction

With the shootout win, the Galaxy completed the tour with a 2-0-1 record and came out as winners in all three of their matches, which brought the highly successful 2011 season to a close.

It didn’t always look like it was going to end that way as the Galaxy conceded the game’s opening goal in the 15th minute. Both teams had chances to break the deadlock early on with David Beckham going closest when he narrowly missed putting his shot on frame from inside his own half with Melbourne goalkeeper Ante Covic off his line.

LA were made to pay for that miss as Carlos Hernandez gave his team a 1-0 lead. Isaka Cernak got free inside the box and played a short pass to the feet of Hernandez. A.J. DeLaGarza blocked the Costa Rican’s initial shot, but the Costa Rican was the first to the rebound and sent a left footed shot past the dive of Josh Saunders, making the score 1-0.

Hernandez’s goal put the Galaxy behind for the first time on the current Asia Pacific Tour, but it was nearly a short lived deficit as Adam Cristman flashed a header just wide if the post from a Beckham cross. At the other end, Archie Thompson went close to doubling his team’s lead after being played in behind the Galaxy defense, only to pull his shot wide of the target.

Melbourne eventually got a second goal in the 37th minute as Hernandez slid a pass between LA’s two central defenders for Cernak, who raced onto the pass and slid a shot underneath Saunders to make the score 2-0 in favor of the Victory.

Spurred to life by the goal, Robbie Keane weaved his way through the Melbourne defense and got off a right-footed shot from the edge of the box, only to be denied by Covic a minute later. However, in the 40th minute Keane would cut the Melbourne lead to 2-1 with his third goal in as many games on the tour.

A Beckham corner kick was headed away by the Victory defense, but Chris Birchall was the first to the loose ball and unleashed a left-footed shot from 25 yards out. The ball struck the arm of a Melbourne defender and referee Strebre Delovski pointed to the spot for a penalty. Keane stepped up to take the spot kick, beating Covic inside the left post to make the score 2-1.

As the half drew to a close, Birchall was forced to clear a Rodrigo Vargas header off the line while Danny Allsopp curled a shot over the crossbar from 12 yards out after being played in through the right-center channel by Archie Thompson.

WATCH: Full Match Highlights

Each team made four changes at the half and there was a fourth goal in the game just five minutes after the restart. Beckham played the ball into the feet of Landon Donovan at the top of the box and continued his run into the penalty are before being impeded by Peter Franjic, who had just come on for the Victory. The referee once again pointed to the spot and once again Keane stepped up and slotted his penalty inside the post, past reserve goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas to make the score 2-2.

The Galaxy dominated possession for much of the second half following Keane’s equalizer, though Jean Carlos Solorzano created a pair of chances for the home side. Beckham and Donovan each spurned a pair of good chances for LA as the game wore on while Paolo Cardozo blazed a shot over the bar after being played in by Landon Donovan.

With five minutes left and now playing alongside Jack McBean, Donovan just missed a shot, sending it wide of the far post while Hector Jimenez, who came on for Sean Franklin midway through the second half, hit the left post with a low, right-footed drive.

With neither team able to break the deadlock, the match went to penalties where Landon Donovan missed the Galaxy’s first attempt, sending his shot off the crossbar. The score was 3-2 in favor of the Victory when Paulo Retre sent his shot off the bar, allowing Michael Stephens to level the score at 3-3 heading into the fifth and final round of penalties.

There, Josh Saunders saved Marco Rojas’ low attempt with his feet before Paolo Cardozo stepped up to stroke the match-winning penalty home, giving the Galaxy another victory.

Scoring Summary:

MEL – Carlos Hernandez (Unassisted) 15’

MEL – Isaka Cernak (Carlos Hernandez) 36’

LA – Robbie Keane (Penalty Kick) 40’

LA – Robbie Keane (Penalty Kick) 50’

Penalty Shootout:

MEL – Rodrigo Vargas (Goal)

LA – Landon Donovan (Crossbar)

MEL – James Jeggo (Goal)

LA – Hector Jimenez (Goal)

MEL – Tomislav Pondeljak (Goal)

LA – Gregg Berhlater (Goal)

MEL – Paulo Retre (Crossbar)

LA – Michael Stephens (Goal)

MEL – Marco Rojas (Save)

LA – Paolo Cardozo (Goal)

Misconduct Summary:

MEL – Petar Franjic (Yellow Card) 49’


LA Galaxy: Josh Saunders; Todd Dunivant (Dan Keat 83’), A.J. DeLaGarza, Sean Franklin (Hector Jimenez 65’), Bryan Jordan (Frankie Hejduk 46’); Mike Magee (Dasan Robinson 46’), Chris Birchall (Michael Stephens 46’), David Beckham (Gregg Berhalter 89’) Landon Donovan©; Robbie Keane (Jack McBean 85’), Adam Cristman (Paolo Cardozo 46’).

Subs Not Used: Brian Perk, Dustin McCarty, Jovan Kirovski, Miguel Lopez.

Melbourne Victory: Ante Covic (Lawrence Thomas 46’); Diogo Ferreira, Rodrigo Vargas, Adrian Leijer© (Petar Franjic 46’), Matthew Foschini (Paulo Retre 69’); Grant Brebner (James Jeggo 59’), Isaka Cernak (Luke O’Dea 74’), Tomislav Pondeljak, Carlos Hernandez (Marco Rojas 46’); Danny Allsopp, Archie Thompson (Jean Carlos Solorzano 46’).

Subs Not Used: None

Referee: Strebre Delovski

Referee’s Assistants: Shaun Evans and George Lackrindis

4th Official: Lucien Laverdure


  • This was the Galaxy’s third and final game of their Asia Pacific Tour 2011. They finished the tour with a 2-0-1 record and came out victorious in all three matches.
  • The attendance for tonight’s game was 34,608.
  • This was the first time that the Galaxy had won in their three trips to Australia, losing 5-3 to Sydney FC in 2007 and 2-1 to the Newcastle Jets in 2010.
  • The Galaxy finish the year 2-1-2 in international friendlies, going 2-0-1 the Asia Pacific Tour and 0-1-1 in the Herbalife World Football Challenge, losing 4-1 to Real Madrid and playing Manchester City to a 1-1 draw before falling on penalties in July.
  • Robbie Keane finished as the club’s top scorer on the tour, scoring four goals in the three games. Adam Cristman was second with two goals while David Beckham, Gregg Berhalter and Mike Magee each scored once.