Galaxy & Manchester City Duel to the End in Friendly

July 25, 2011

Carson, CA -- With the Herbalife World Football Challenge winding down, Manchester City made its way to Los Angeles to face the Galaxy in Man City's last WFC game.

For Man City, it was an opportunity to field its potential starting lineup for their upcoming English Premier League season with such players as Joe Hart, Gareth Barry, Nigel de Jong, Mario Balotelli, and James Milner.

For the Galaxy, the game provided David Beckham, Sean Franklin, and Juninho the chance to lead a young group of Galaxy players against talented Man City, while allowing Landon Donovan and Juan Pablo Angel to get some needed rested.

As the game began there was a scary collision in the 6th minute as Gael Clichy and Hector Jimenez both jumped up in the air to win the ball.  Clichy collided with Jimenez’s head and fell to the ground where he hit his head again.  Clichy got up stumbling and looked dazed as medical staff attended to him, but he would re-enter the game a few minutes later.

In the 12th minute, Man City’s David Silva received a pass at the top of the 18-yard box from Mario Balotelli.  Silva continued his sprint as the ball was played to him and he was defended by Jimenez.  The Galaxy’s Jimenez fell down and Silva took a strong left footed shot that beat Josh Saunders but missed the far post by inches.

Man City would continue to control this friendly game when Micah Richards dribbled past Kyle Davies in the 18-yard box in the 18th minute of play.  Bryan Jordan attempted to stop the dangerous attack as he made a slide tackle to sweep the ball out of play.  However, Jordan got too much of Richards in the process and Man City was awarded a penalty kick.

Up stepped Mario Balotelli for the penalty kick against Saunders.  Balotelli proceeded toward the ball, made a clever hesitation move that forced Saunders to dive right, and then shot and scored in the left corner giving Man City a 1-0 lead.

The Galaxy would try to get into the game in the 22nd minute with a Beckham pass to Miguel Lopez in the 18-yard box that Lopez chose not cross to in front of goal. Two later Galaxy opportunities also fell short with a Bryan Jordan shot in the 32nd minute, and a quality Jimenez pass to Cristman in front of goal in the 44th minute that Cristman could not control.

But the highlight of the first half occurred in the 29th minute when Man City should have extended their lead to 2-0 over the Galaxy.

Silva made a great through pass to Balotelli at the top of the 18-yard box.  The Galaxy’s Franklin could not stop the pass as he made a sliding effort to block Balotelli from getting the ball.  With Franklin down, Balotelli was one-on-one with Saunders.  Instead of shooting on goal in a normal fashion, Balotelli spun 180 degrees around, stopped the ball with his left foot, and then unsuccessfully tried to perform a no-look right footed heel kick that missed goal.

His Man City teammates were irate with him and yelled at him for not playing the game the right way. The Galaxy's fans booed him vigorously. Balotelli meanwhile, attempted to claim that he thought he was offside.

World-class Man City coach Roberto Mancini handled it a different way, as he immediately substituted in James Milner for Balotelli.  Balotelli wasn’t done with his antics however, as he questioned his coach for bringing him out and threw his water bottle on the sidelines.

After the game both coaches were asked about the play.  Galaxy coach Bruce Arena refused to comment on another team’s player, but Roberto Mancini called the Balotelli controversy "unprofessional" and stated that he hopes that Balotelli learns a "lesson" from the incident.

As the second half began and throughout the rest of the game, the Galaxy made substitutions of regulars Gonzalez, Juninho, DeLaGarza, Dunivant, and Birchall, for young, inexperienced players like Perk, McCarty, Keat, and McBean.  Man City’s most notable change was Shaun Wright-Phillips.

The Galaxy substitutes took it upon themselves to make this a more competitive match than the friendly against Real Madrid the prior weekend.

In the 53rd minute, Dan Keat crossed the ball across the field to Chris Birchall who headed it to Mike Magee.  Magee was about 25 yards away from goal and had a Man City defender charging at him as he shot with his left-foot.  The shot was on goal and English Premier League star Joe Hart jumped to save the shot, but the ball went over his head and dropped below the cross-bar just in time to even the game at 1-1.

The Galaxy were not bashful about trying to get a second goal and beat Man City as they attacked in the 55th minute.  Lopez crossed the ball to Magee in the 18-yard box, Magee passed off to Michael Stephens, and Stephens gave it to Todd Dunivant.  Dunivant was about 7 yards away with only Hart to beat, but Dunivant’s shot was saved by a charging and diving Hart.

The ball then rebounded out to Dan Keat who was alone and fired a shot on goal with his left-foot from about 30 yards away.  Hart had to make a leaping, diving save through the air just to get a touch on the ball and deflect it out of bounds.  The LA Galaxy faithful appreciatively applauded their team’s effort against this elite soccer team from England.

In a prior friendly versus Vancouver, Man City's Phillips scored an unreal goal late in the game to give Man City the victory.  In the 86th minute against the Galaxy, Phillips tried to duplicate his heroics, making a short cross into the box for Edin Dzeko.

Dzeko was about to head the ball into goal, but Omar Gonzalez made an athletic effort to stop the play.  Then in the 90th minute, Man City had another opportunity to win the game when John Guidetti muscled off two Galaxy defenders inside the 6-yard box and shot on goal, but Perk made the save to preserve the 1-1 tie.

The Man City and Galaxy players began exchanging jerseys and congratulating each other on a great game.  The only problem was that a tie game in the Herbalife World Football Challenge goes to penalty kicks.

Players and fans enjoyed a penalty kick showdown that went to 9 attempts for each side.  With the PK score at 4-4 and Man City’s Guidetti having a chance to win it, Guidetti shot to the left but Perk made a great save to keep the Galaxy alive.

On the 9th penalty kick attempts for both teams, AJ DeLaGarza of the Galaxy was not able to get enough pace behind the kick to beat Hart, while Hart stepped up against Perk to give Man City the win.

Overall it was a fantastic day for fans to witness a competitive match (minus Balotelli’s ordeal), an elite team from the EPL, and an exciting finish to the game.  After the game, coaches and players expressed their enthusiasm for the match-up, and noted the benefits and learning experience that the young players gained.

By Brian Kowalski
Staff Writer for

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