WFC: Galaxy thrilled with youngsters' performance vs. City
CARSON, Calif. — Following an entertaining penalty-kick shootout defea to Manchester City on Sunday, the LA Galaxy’s participation in the 2011 World Football Challenge ended. But while the team has two losses and two goals to show for their efforts, not all was in vain.
Galaxy coaches were able to see some of the team’s young players compete — and hold their own — against top-level competition and the club was able to work on several things against a pair of 2011-12 Champions League participants.
“We got other guys minutes, which was first of all a priority,” Galaxy defender and assistant coach Gregg Berhalter said after the Man. City match. “We got guys experience at an extremely high level which was another thing. When the game is more difficult, we work on things like counterattack and, overall, I think we did fine.”
WATCH: FULL MATCH HIGHLIGHTS
The Galaxy fell 4-1 to Real Madrid last weekend but rebounded to secure a thrilling 1-1 draw against Manchester City on Sunday, but WFC tournament rules called for a penalty-kick shootout. And while that went in favor of Man. City by a 7-6 score, even that turned out well for those in attendance.
“The crowd was amazing,” Galaxy defender Todd Dunivant said. “It was amazing to see how into it they were in the penalties. You don’t see that every day. It was fun and it was a good day for them. That’s really what this is all about.”
To start the match, Galaxy coach Bruce Arena sent out youngsters such as Hector Jimenez and Kyle Davies. For the second half, Arena trotted out Dan Keat (above) and Brian Perk, and brought on Dustin McCarty and Jack McBean as the half progressed. Only Perk has seen time during the regular-season, but all the players are battling for playing time and have the confidence of their teammates if and when a regular-season or CONCACAF Champions League opportunity comes along.
“We’ve known in practice as well that these guys are stepping up and are good players,” Galaxy midfielder Mike Magee said. “The problem with getting league games is we have so many proven veteran players, it’s hard to break in. But these guys are showing themselves well and they’re definitely making the case that if need be, and especially with all these games coming up, we’re going to have confidence in them.”
The youngest player on the roster — 16-year-old forward Jack McBean — made his first appearance for the Galaxy, replacing Miguel López in the 66th minute. One minute later, he drew a foul which earned City’s Stefan Savic a yellow card.
McBean, a native of nearby Newport Beach, said he had reserved 15 to 20 tickets for friends and family.
“It was awesome," he said. "It’s been kind of a long way. I’ve been gone most of the time but to finally get in and play with most of the guys, it was a lot of fun. [I had] a little nerves mixed with adrenaline, but I thought I got through it within 10 minutes of being out there.”
The Galaxy may not have a strong go of it against Real Madrid, but the output on Sunday against the FA Cup holders left Arena with more positive thoughts.
“I saw a little bit more today than I did in the game against Madrid,” Arena said. “We’re going to have to be playing three games a week for an extended period of time. We need to go deep into our roster and have to play around 18 players. There was some indication that there are some players we can use, which is a positive.”