MARINA DEL REY, Calif. — When Manchester City line up to face the LA Galaxy in Sunday’s Herbalife World Football Challenge (4 pm ET, ESPN/Deportes) the match will take on a different life than previous encounters.
Manchester City’s third WFC match, after all, is their most vital in the preseason to date.
“For us, the last game is the most important game,” Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini said. “We are very excited to play this game against Galaxy.”
The Galaxy match will offer the club an opportunity to play without having to worry about another one within a 48-hour span. The Blues played Club América in San Francisco last weekend, then visited the Vancouver Whitecaps on Monday.
Such a predicament meant numerous changes to the squad Mancini sent out. With a much more settled lead-up and fallout from the match, Mancini has the chance to work more with his team.
“It will be a very important game because it is the last game of the tournament,” Mancini said. “It is important we play with whole team for 90 minutes.”
With a potential first-choice starting lineup facing the Galaxy, Man. City should also receive a boost from another entity. The temporary pitch at Empire Field in Vancouver earlier this week drew some ire, but there shouldn’t be any problems this time at the Home Depot Center.
“The pitch will obviously help us,” Manchester City midfielder Gareth Barry said. “The one previous wasn’t ideal, but it’s just one of those things.”
The Galaxy match will continue to add to the club’s successful preseason.
“The training conditions have been what we needed and the weather has been very good,” Barry said. “With our setup here, the training has been well. I’ve enjoyed the time here and the games have been what we needed at this stage of the preseason. The one on Sunday will probably be the toughest test to where we want to be.”