Zinedine Zidane

The LA Galaxy’s top five international friendlies of all time

CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy announced on Tuesday that they’ll be taking on Manchester United on July 23rd at the Rose Bowl in the club’s latest international friendly.

To mark the occasion, LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano looks back at his top five international friendlies that the Galaxy have played in LA.

5.) LA Galaxy 3, Juventus 1 on August 4, 2013 at Dodger Stadium

It was a stellar night for the LA Galaxy as they defeated Italian giants Juventus in front of a raucous crowd of 40,681 at Dodger Stadium.

The nightcap of a day-night doubleheader, that also featured Real Madrid and Everton, was the first time that soccer had been played at the Southern California landmark stadium. The win over “The Old Lady” was also the Galaxy’s first-ever victory over a European team in club history.  

The match lived up to the spectacular setting as Omar Gonzalez’s clever chip over the legendary Italian international goalkeepr Gianluigi Buffon put LA ahead before Alessandro Matri equalized for Juventus moments later. But in the second half, it was all Galaxy as the introduction of captain Robbie Keane sparked the Galaxy attack and Landon Donovan and Keane scored to give LA the surprising win over Juventus.

4.) LA Galaxy 1, Manchester City 1 (City win 7-6 on penalties) on July 24, 2011 at at StubHub Center

It was a wild afternoon in Carson when the LA Galaxy fell on penalties to English side Manchester City in 2011.

City pulled ahead after just 20 minutes when Mario Balotelli placed a stutter-step penalty kick past Galaxy ‘keeper Josh Saunders.

The match then exploded in controversy nine minutes later when Balotelli attempted a shocking backheel from inside the eight-yard box that sailed harmlessly out of play. Balotelli was yanked by then-City manager Roberto Mancini for the Italian striker's attempt. The Galaxy equalized in the 54th minute when Mike Magee blasted a spectacular shot that sailed up and over Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart.

The pressure was ratcheted up during the ensuing penalty kick shootout as substitute Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Perk dueled with Hart. Perk made a pair saves while Hart made three before the two ‘keepers came up against one another in the ninth round and the Englishman blasted a shot past the Galaxy man to give City the victory.

3.) LA Galaxy 0, Real Madrid 2 on July 19, 2005 at StubHub Center

The LA Galaxy enjoyed one of the biggest nights in club history when they hosted Real Madrid in 2005.

A capacity crowd of 27,000 fans were in attendance—including a young Insider—as the Galaxy battled with a Madrid side that boasted the likes of Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham, Roberto Carlos, Iker Casillas and Raul Gonzalez. As Zidane amazed the sellout crowd with his brilliant ball work and Beckham earned the loudest cheers of the bunch, it was England international Michael Owen and Spanish striker Roberto Soldado that grabbed the goals.

In that match, the first seeds were sown for an acquisition that would change the Galaxy and MLS forever less than two years later.

2.) LA Galaxy 0, Chelsea 1 on June 22, 2007 at StubHub Center

Two years later, Beckham was lining up for the Galaxy as he made his debut against English giants Chelsea FC in front of a jam-packed crowd at StubHub Center.

The world’s eyes descended upon Carson for the English soccer legend’s Galaxy debut. The game itself was a back-and-forth affair as goalkeepers Petr Cech and Joe Cannon were called into repeated action in the first half. However, Chelsea pulled ahead three minutes into the second half after Joe Cole launched a cross to John Terry who found the back of the net. 

In the 78th minute, the crowd got what they came for when the Galaxy’s new No. 23 entered for MLS journeyman Alan Gordon. Although the bumper crowd came to see Beckham’s trademark free kicks, the most notable moment of Beckham’s 12 minute and 10 touch cameo was when the Englishman suffered a late challenge from Chelsea reserve midfielder Steve Sidwell.  

1. LA Galaxy 1, FC Barcelona 2 on August 2, 2009 at the Rose Bowl Stadium

It was a night that many will never forget as the LA Galaxy fell 2-1 to then European champions FC Barcelona in front of 93,137 fans at the Rose Bowl, the largest ever crowd for a club soccer match in the United States

The action was back and forth between the two teams that led to wild cheers from the capacity crowd as Pedro and Jeffrén scored for FC Barcelona. LA didn’t get the victory against the then-European Champions, but they received their marquee moment when David Beckham launched a trademark beautiful curling free kick from 25 yards past José Manuel Pinto. 

The goal was a major turning point for the perception of Beckham among Galaxy fans as it helped sway the negativity that plagued him earlier in the year and propelled the team towards what would be their first of three MLS Cup appearances in four years.

Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com