The LA Galaxy dropped their first match of the preseason on Monday as they opened their European tour with a 2-1 loss to Swedish first division side Hammarby at the Tele2 Arena in Stockholm.
Robbie Keane opened the scoring for the Galaxy inside the first 10 minutes, but Hammarby struck back with goals by Erik Israelsson and Linus Hallenius on opposite sides of the half. With the defeat, LA are now 4-1-0 this preseason.
The Galaxy went ahead after just eight minutes when Keane converted a penalty that was won moments earlier when Gyasi Zardes was yanked down in the box by a Hammarby defender. The lead did not last, however, as the Bajen equalized just four minutes later when Israelsson capitalized on a poor clearance by Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez and smashed a volley past goalkeeper Jaime Penedo.
Following their go-ahead strike, the Swedes turned on the pressure only to be thwarted by some clutch goalkeeping by Penedo and less than crisp finishing from the Hammarby attackers. In the 26th minute, the Galaxy had their best chance to pull ahead when Zardes went one-on-one with Hammarby ‘keeper Johannes Hopf, but the U.S. international pushed his attempt just wide of goal.
Steeled by the home crowd, Hammarby nearly pulled ahead in the 40th minute when Måns Söderqvist chipped Penedo only to have his chance cleared off the line by a trailing run from Robbie Rogers. There were no Rogers’ heroics once the second half kicked off as Hammarby needed just two minutes to pull ahead on a Hallenius header that sailed into the Galaxy net.
Things went from bad to worse for the Galaxy eight minutes later when Juninho was given a straight red card for stopping a Hammarby breakaway that saw LA reduced to 10 men for the remainder of the match.
Rogers nearly leveled for the Galaxy in the 65th minute of play, but his near post effort was pushed away by Hopf to keep the hosts ahead. Both sides continued widespread substitutions as the half wore on as neither was able to find another goal.
LA will conclude their European trip on Feb. 21 against Shamrock Rovers at Tallaght Stadium in Dublin. The Galaxy will then wrap up preseason preparations a week later against the San Jose Earthquakes at Avaya Stadium.
LA Galaxy 1, Hammarby Fotboll 2
Monday, Feb. 16, 2015 – 10:00 a.m. PT
Tele2 Arena – Stockholm, Sweden
LA – Robbie Keane (penalty) 7’
HAM – Erik Israelsson 11’
HAM – Linus Hallenius 47’
LA – Juninho (ejection) 55’
LA Galaxy: Jaime Penedo (Brian Rowe 61’); Robbie Rogers (Rafa Garcia, 74’), Omar Gonzalez (Daniel Keller 79’ [Alan Gordon 90+]), Leonardo (Tommy Meyer 61’), Todd Dunivant (Oscar Sorto 45’); Stefan Ishizaki (Kenney Walker 67’), Juninho, Baggio Husidic (Mika Vayrynen 45’), Bradford Jamieson IV (Jose Villarreal 59’); Gyasi Zardes (Ignacio Maganto 72’), Robbie Keane © (Edson Buddle 67’).
Hammarby: Johannes Hopf; Stefan Batan, Thomas Guldborg Christensen, Lars Saetra, Birkir Mar Saevarsson; Jan Gunnar Solli, Erik Israelsson; Kennedy Bakircioglu, Mans Soderqvist, Lars Mendonca Fuhre; Linus Hallenius
Substitutions: Tim Markstrom, Nahir Besara, Pablo Pinones-Arce, Viktor Nordin, Amadaiya Rennie, Jonathan Tamimi, Oliver Silverholt, Marko Mihajlovic