Galaxy Triumphs Over Boca Juniors 1-0 in Exciting Friendly

May 24, 2010

Carson, California - On a clear and somewhat breezy Sunday evening, the Los Angeles Galaxy defeated Boca Juniors of Argentina, 1-0, before 18,267 vibrant soccer fans assembled at Carson's Home Depot Center for the international friendly.

With both teams missing starters due to injury and the upcoming World Cup, their managers were able to make nine total substitutions and utilize players who usually would be on the bench.

Despite those personnel losses, club pride and the promise of future playing time increased the intensity level of the match, especially for the Galaxy, as Los Angeles is undefeated and in the midst of its MLS regular season.

Because both teams fielded atypical lineups and lacked familiarity with their opponent, things got off to a hesitant start. However, once the flow of the game settled after the first 20 minutes, Boca Juniors maintained most of the possession and displayed the classic Argentinean-style football that fans around the world crave.

With layered, circular runs, and crafty passing, the Boca Juniors team dominated the midfield most of the match, but failed to create many dangerous scoring opportunities. Potential future stars Pablo Mouche and Lucas Viatri displayed great skill, but were unsuccessful in their attempt to break through on goal.

In the 25th minute, Jesus Mendez unleashed a hard shot from 25 yards out which beat Josh Saunders, but went just wide of the left post.

Less than five minutes later veteran Galaxy striker Clint Mathis - starting in his first game of the season - put keeper Javier Garcia to the test when his free kick deflected off the wall and forced Garcia to change position just in time to push the ball out for a corner kick.

Boca’s best scoring chance of the game came in the 40th minute when one of the Galaxy's few defensive mistakes caused Mouche to be free on a breakaway.

What seemed like an otherwise easy scoring opportunity however, was soon nullified when the ball was chipped softly into the hands of keeper Josh Saunders, as Mouche went for the finesse placement shot rather than the sure finish.

Mouche attempted to make up for it a minute later with a left-footed blast that was kept out by Saunders. Boca defender Breyner Bonilla, who was strong in the back, failed to get his head over the ball and sent it flying over the crossbar on the ensuing corner kick.

The second half saw more individual talent by players on both teams, again with Boca having most of the possession and shots on net. But aside from a couple of decent strikes from long distance, the majority of those Boca shots were weak headers from crosses. As a result, Josh Saunders’ day was not as difficult as one might expect given the circumstances.

Such plays typified the closely contested game, as superb goalkeeping, a shaky Boca Junior defense, and a solid Galaxy back line led by Alex Cazumba and Sean Franklin, kept Los Angeles within reach despite having significantly fewer shots on goal.

The 80th minute insertion of midfielder Mike Magee paid enormous dividends when only three minutes later he slipped a low and accurate cross into the box from the right wing to Michael Stephens.

Stephens then craftily passed it first-time to an unmarked Tristan Bowen. Standing virtually alone, the 19-year old Van Nuys native cooly placed the ball into the net, beating Boca keeper Javier Garcia.

The goal was Bowen’s first for the Galaxy and came in just his second start of the season. In Bowen's first start last Thursday against FC Dallas, he assisted on Mike Magee’s game-winning goal.

The loss marks the first of three matches to be played by Boca in the United States, as they will face the Seattle Sounders next week, followed by the Portland Timbers.

The Galaxy are now 2-0-1 in international friendlies this season.

The faint chants of “U-S-A, U-S-A,” were for the most part drowned out by the beating drums and bouncing chants of the Boca Junior fans that were present in large numbers.

But regardless of their particular team affiliation, all the local fans were treated to a quality soccer exhibition from some of the best talents in the world showcasing their skills. Undoubtedly, those fans are hopeful that the Galaxy will continue its trend of hosting such world class clubs in the future.

Player of the Match: Tristan Bowen

In addition to scoring the game-winner, Bowen was a workhorse the entire match, distracting his opponents with speed and skill, and maintaining possession well.

Bowen was one of a handful of Galaxy players who played up to Boca Juniors’ level. He made the most of his opportunity as a starter, and is our Player of the Match, slightly edging the steady Josh Saunders, who had a clean sheet with 13 saves in as many shots on net.

Post Game Notes

1. The Galaxy played without Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle, both of whom are training for the World Cup with the U.S. National Team. Buddle leads the MLS with nine goals, while Donovan leads the league with nine assists.

2. Boca star Juan Roman Riquelme was unable to play due to injury. Riquelme underwent knee surgery last week.

By Adrian Yeung
Staff Reporter for

Photographs by Tri Le
Photography Editor for

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