PASADENA, Calif. – The LA Galaxy kept FC Barcelona from finding the net until almost halftime, but that was the best they could do Tuesday night in an International Champions Cup friendly that shattered attendance records.
Luis Suarez scored just before the break and Sergi Roberto added a second 11 minutes into the second half as the European champions posted a 2-1 triumph at the Rose Bowl in front of 93,226 fans, the most ever to see a game involving a Major League Soccer team.
Tommy Meyer put the Galaxy on the scoreboard in the 91st minute, heading home a near-post corner kick from Mika Väyrynen, who made his first appearance since suffering a hamstring injury in a June 20 win over Philadelphia.
The Spanish champs dictated terms from start to finish, with nearly constant possession in and around LA's box but only so much to show for their dominance.
There was plenty to ooh and ahh in Barcelona's game, and the heavily blue-and-red-garbed crowd – 89 more than the previous mark of 93,137, set in the first meeting between the clubs, a 2-1 Barça victory at the Rose Bowl in August 2009 – roared their appreciation throughout.
The Galaxy fell to 0-4 at the Rose Bowl since departing the historic venue in 2003 for StubHub Center, about 25 miles south in Carson. They've dropped two friendlies to Barcelona, another to Real Madrid and last year's meeting with Manchester United.
LA didn't get off a shot until the second half and threatened just three times, twice through Ariel Lassiter, who provided a preview of what soon might be. The son of Roy Lassiter, who stars for LA Galaxy II – the club's USL-based reserve team – fired through the goalmouth from the left in the 65th minute and shot wide right on a counterattack in the 74th.
Barcelona outshot the Galaxy 19-6 and LA put just two shots on frame, Edson Buddle's 83rd-minute blast straight at Masip and Meyer's header for the goal.
Robbie Keane and Steven Gerrard started up top for the Galaxy, but they generated little as Barcelona rarely allowed LA to complete more than two or three passes at a time. LA used 22 players – only Mendiola played more than 45 – and left just two available players on their bench, midfielder Sebastian Lletget and Galaxy II forward Jack McBean.
Opening their preseason schedule with the first of three games in the United States – there are dates Saturday against Manchester United in Santa Clara, California, and next Tuesday against Chelsea in Landover, Maryland – Barcelona included Suarez and midfielders Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic in their starting XI and brought midfielder Andres Iniesta and defender Gerard Pique on at halftime.
Barça was without four players, including Lionel Messi and Neymar, who are on break following Copa America.
Suarez struck in the 45th minute, in the aftermath of a Barça corner kick. Rafinha chipped a ball into the box from the left flank, and center back Marc Bartra, about three yards into the box and even with where the left edge of the semicircle meets the top of the area, took the ball on his chest and then flicked it over his head.
Suarez won the ball as Leonardo kicked high into the air – the Uruguayan striker looked like he might have handled the ball as he stepped forward – and volleyed off the bounce as defender Dan Gargan tried to thwart his attempt.
Sergi Roberto tallied after a Galaxy turnover in their defensive third. Munir El Haddadi sent a ball toward the goalmouth from the left flank, the ball bounced around among a few players and squirted out into the middle of the box, and Sergi Roberto smashed it home.