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Galaxy take down Club America in ICC opener on Keane, Gordon strikes

Soccer: Club America at LA Galaxy ICC

Photo by Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports


After withstanding a frenetic attack from Club América in the first fifteen minutes, the Los Angeles Galaxy gained control of the match, and then the scoreboard, defeating the Mexican club, 2-1, at StubHub Center.

Based on crowd presence, it seemed the opening match of the International Champions Cup tournament was a home game for legendary Mexican side Club América, despite being played in Los Angeles. And with LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena’s twenty-two man lineup, it hardly seemed the Galaxy were motivated for much more than a summer friendly payday.

However, after going down early, Robbie Keane evened the score in the 44th minute, and then Alan Gordon broke open the deadlock in the 80th to give the Galaxy home faithful – however small in number – a worthy triumph over the vaunted Mexican giants.

Keane’s goal was one for the highlight reel.  The Irish international raced toward the América goal and hauled in a 50-yard pass from Juninho, touching the ball deftly out of the air and redirecting the ball so effectively that both the América defender marking him, and the América goalkeeper coming forward into the play, were instantly sent sprawling to the turf.

Keane then pivoted and easily tapped the ball into the back of the net in front of the massive América supporter section.  The goal instantly sucked the air out of the yellow-clad América faithful and seemed to take the wind entirely out of the Las Aguilas players as well.

America opened play with a ferocity that caught the Galaxy flat-footed.  The Azulcremas displayed pace and technical ability the Galaxy almost never see in MLS play, and when Darwin Quintero squirted in behind the Galaxy back four and nutmegged goalkeeper Brian Rowe, it seemed the Galaxy might be in for a long and deafening night.

However, the Galaxy had a new weapon to call upon to bring composure to the middle of the pitch: the widely heralded debut of Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard.  While Gerrard, like the rest of the Galaxy, looked caught out by the Club América tenacity early on, slowly Gerrard and his new midfield partner, Juninho, began to wrest control of the match.

“It was a great feeling.  It was a difficult game and I thought they (Club América) were very good” said Gerrard after the match.  “I thought after 15 or 20 minutes that the team settled really well, we played some good football, and we got our deserved equalizer.  For me personally, it was good to get 45 minutes under my belt, and I’ll keep getting better and better, and the more I get used to my teammates, I’ll improve.”

With the Galaxy facing an extremely heavy schedule – with two more matches in the next five days – Arena pulled into the deepest reaches of his roster and fielded an entirely different eleven to start the second half.  Three of the substitutes made their debut with the senior team, and only two – veteran forwards Alan Gordon and Edson Buddle – see regular time with the Galaxy.

Club América, on the other hand, left it’s entire starting lineup on the field for almost the next half hour of play, but the expected onslaught of goals by talented Mexican senior players against green MLS reserves never emerged.  Rather, it was the Galaxy that put América on the back foot, generating multiple chances in the first thirty minutes of the second half, while an increasingly frustrated América side stopped generating chances on goal and began hacking at Galaxy legs instead.

So when Alan Gordon scored the go-ahead goal for the Galaxy in the 80th minute, it was by no means against the run of play.  Kenny Walker sent Raul Mendiola a perfectly weighted long ball down the Galaxy’s right flank.  Mendiola corralled the ball just short of the end line, a crossed a long bending ball to the far post, where Alan Gordon lurked.  Gordon used his physical size to out leap and out muscle two América defenders, and chipped a header back across the goal mouth and over the outstretched arms of América goalkeeper Hugo Gonzalez.

The looping strike thoroughly wrong-footed the goalkeeper, and he helplessly watched as the ball clanged off the post and into the back of the goal.

“It was fun” said Alan Gordon, whose last minute heroics have become something of a routine story for the Galaxy this season. “It was kind of a hostile crowd in our own stadium, which is never a great feeling.  But to come away with a win and give our supporters that were here supporting us bragging rights is important.”

The Galaxy reserves were left to face a ten-minute onslaught from a now thoroughly distraught América side.  Rookie goalkeeper Andrew Wolverton made a diving save on a Michael Arroyo free kick, but it would be the only on-target attempt América would manage in the second half.

“In the second half, our young players played with a lot of confidence, played hard” continued Arena, when asked about his reserves’ performance. “I think the way they closed the game out and preserved the three points was excellent.”

Both sides will play four matches in total as part of the International Champions Cup. Club América will play in San Jose against the Earthquakes on Tuesday before taking on Manchester United in Seattle on Friday.  But for Los Millonetas, these games are all a tuneup before the start of the 2015 Apertura in August.

The Galaxy, meanwhile, are in the heart of several different competitions.  They will travel to Salt Lake City on Tuesday to take on Real Salt Lake in a U.S Open Cup quarterfinal, then return to Los Angeles to host San Jose in another installment of the California Clasico on Friday night, before finally heading fifteen miles north to the Rose Bowl to take on no less a power than UEFA Champion’s League winner F.C. Barçelona in their second I.C.C. match.


  1. The crowd presence just shows the untapped potential of Los Angeles. The pre-game parades were pretty big too. In the next generation, this energy could be tied up in a derby.

    • Pretty sure the Galaxy are tapping that potential. Ticket sales for the Galaxy-Barça game at the Rose Bowl next week are approaching 90,000.

  2. “… while an increasingly frustrated [Mexican] side stopped generating chances on goal and began hacking at [the U.S. side’s] legs instead.”

    I couldn’t watch this game, yet I still feel as if I’ve seen it a dozen times before.

  3. I think there were a number of America starters are missing (as well as a few Galaxy players) But i think club America did play with some extra intensity because; a) there may be some starting spots on the balance, and players want to impress. b) It was a frenetic Mostly Club America based crowd. c) They wanted to beat the Galaxy as a foreordaining to the CCL IN THEIR HOUSE. The Galaxy made a better point: They beat them with their RESERVES> lol

  4. I think most people, including the Galaxy players, expected a game like a friendly, but America came out with an intensity, even a ferocity that made it seem like they were playing a CCL final or something. I’m a long time Galaxy fan and I’ve never even heard of a number of the players they played last night. Both Galaxy goals were really verging on world class if not world class. Given the circumstances so well laid out in the article, it was a very impressive performance by the Galaxians. The speed of play at times was incredible. Arena coached teams may be the best in the league when it comes to quick, one-touch passing.

    • Agreed…The intensity was like a CCL game. I think America was spurred on by the many of their supporters. It’s a shame Galaxy fans did not show up for this one. This team was up to the task, unlike last years friendly.

      • During the broadcast, they were talking about press back in Mexico hyping the match and tourney pretty good- this match being the best of the MX v the best of MLS. Doesn’t sound like it was taken as just another friendly and the intensity on the field seemed to indicate this. One of the few mid-season friendlies I’ve thought was at all a worthwhile watch.

  5. I wonder what the America goalie was thinking on the equalizer he was caught way out in an upper corner of the area with the flight of the ball moving away from goal. He probably should have stayed home and let his defender deal with it.

  6. Jesus, once Dos Santos arrives, Zardes and Gonzo return, Galaxy is stacked. I kind of hate it, actually. But I also enjoy having an MLS team with quality star power.

    • Hoping all this depth lets them put a real focus on the CCL. An MLS team needs to win it already and play in the club world cup.

  7. It’s a Galaxy Universe.

    The USMNT calls in LA Galaxy’s Zardes to inject some magic into a moribund offense. No problem; Zardes supplies winning assist, US win 1-0..

    The Galaxy, in turn, having three games in 6 days call in the reserves. The Galaxy substitute the whole team (11 players) in the second half with Galaxy reserves and USL Galaxy II guest players. No Problem, Alan Gordon scores the winning goal against the original starting 11 of Club America.

    The USL Galaxy II short several players loaned to the Galaxy for the Club America Game, call in several Galaxy Academy Players, to win against the USL Western Conference and reigning USL Champions. the Sacramento Republic, 4-0 on Preki’s Last match before heading off to a coaching position in the UK.

    Oh, and the Galaxy get some new guy from Liverpool.

    It’s a Galaxy Universe

    • Club America has been dismantling lower division Mexican sides for 3-4 weeks. Their lack of heart after the Keane goal was stunning. Granted they too were short a few players, as were Galaxy, but to be dominated by the cast of characters that Arena sent out in the 2nd half, was unexpected and actually unbelievable. What was not pleasing about Los Aguilas also, was their filthy to injure tactics in 2H especially as they started into frustration. I’m certain that they will revert to CCL championship caliber soon enough, but I give the kids on Bruce Arena’s side that debuted last nigh a ton of credit. This was a fun matchup for me to watch. I think Liga MX is not too proud after last night.

      Once LA Galaxy gains a full side, they can be one very dangerous MLS contender. This is a very fun time to be a fan of MLS. .

    • As I told a few friends/Club America supporters in the room watching the game… there is most definitely merit to the factor regarding preseason form. Just be sure to remember that fact in reverse next time you watch the last few games of CL. And….. it shouldn’t so much apply to the second half with CA starting 11 v deep reserves for LA…. that a Club America side in form or not, should be able to handle. In the end, it’s a friendly, but was a very hard fought fun one to watch. It’s not conclusive of anything, but does point to a slow, steady paradigmn shift which will only serve Mexican and US soccer. Hopefully in 10 years CONCACAF CL scheduling is adjusted and deeper MLS sides that prioritize the tourney are battling it out in hard fought matches similar- but even better than this… in front of supporters that care. How could any lover of soccer not want that?

    • That would be strange because Atlas, Leon, Chivas and Xolos have been playing friendlies in the US for the last couple of weeks.

  8. I like the way hornish tells this story. Great descriptions of game action with quotes from players and the coach mixed in. More articles from hornish, please.

    • Went looking for highlights because I didn’t get to see the match and found the full match on youtube…albeit in Spanish.

      Anybody who’s interested, it’s here.

      Is Lletgett jumping off the field to anybody else? Guy has size, power, speed, really nice touch, and a really nice motor. Galaxy absolutely stole one when they signed him. Cannot believe he never saw the field for West Ham. It’s like: yo, Hammers: there are WAY worse players in the Prem than this guy.

      He’s a callup all the way. Honestly I think he’s a starter – and an upgrade – for the USMNT from what I’ve seen of him.

      • The hype train can always be a dangerous thing, but I have to agree, Lletget is an exciting player going forward. He attacks with such aggression and persistence. He has a great shot, great movement, great vision: he has a lot of offensive talent, for sure. There are several fairly young American attack-minded midfielders who could explode on the scene soon: Lletget, Finlay, Nagbe, maybe even Gil and Powers, and then possibly Manneh down the line. Could be fun.

      • I’m not sure on his national team story. is he technically available for the US? not trying to jump on any hype train but I as well think he has lots of talent; simple effective talent. if he checks out he could be a great addition in our sorely needed LM role.

      • Why would Lletget not be eligible for the USMNT? He was born in SF and as far as I can tell he lived in CA until he went to play for West Ham. Plus he’s played for US youth teams. I would think he’d be in consideration pretty soon if he continues playing well for the Galaxy.

  9. Impressive. I’m actually pretty nervous for the rest of the league once Galaxy gets everyone back from the Gold Cup and Dos Santos is on board. On paper they’re scary good.


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