The Galaxy's opener at the Desert Diamond Cup -- like all of preseason, in Bruce Arena's philosophy -- was about fitness. He gave seven players the full 90 minutes, including David Beckham and Marcelo Sarvas in midfield and an otherwise first-choice back four with Dan Keat stationed at right back.
That was the most noteworthy accomplishment for L.A. in their first game in Tucson, a 3-2 loss to New England in which that big hole at the back was exposed twice -- and mightily so.
The Revolution scored twice in the air in the middle of the Galaxy box, watched the Galaxy rally from deficits both times, then snatched victory when Jeremiah White caught the backline on its back foot with 16 minutes to go.
The Galaxy had some fine moments, most, it seemed, courtesy of Beckham's glorious right foot. His distribution ranged from just off to, more often than not, letter-perfect, and it led to one goal by Edson Buddle -- his first since returning from Germany -- and should have produced another.
Mike Magee also scored for L.A., and Juninho looked right at home after coming on at halftime, his first appearance this preseason.
The primary problem was at the back, where Omar Gonzalez's absence has left the Galaxy without their defensive leader and chief warrior in the air. A.J. DeLaGarza is a fine companion, but he's 5 feet 9 and isn't about to dominate in an aerial game.
Rookie Tommy Meyer, who partnered DeLaGarza for the fifth time in six preseason games, is 6-2, but he's still figuring out his way in the pro game. His inability to deal with danger on either of New England's first-half goals -- Benny Feilhaber's bicycle kick taken out of the sky in the second minute and John Lozano's header from rookie Kelyn Rowe's corner kick in the 36th -- was disappointing, but this was his first game for L.A. in a stadium, under lights, in front of a paying crowd.
Buddle nodded home Beckham's cross in the 31st minute after a corner kick was cleared back to the flank. Magee scored in the 38th, a blast from outside the box -- from Adam Cristman's lay-off following a Beckham cross to Todd Dunivant -- that deflected off New England defender Darrius Barnes.
Buddle should have done more with a beautiful Beckham ball onto his path in the 15th minute, and he wasted two more opportunities.
Keat saw 90 minutes for the second straight game, this time at a new position. The second-year holding midfielder, primed for a breakthrough campaign, was fine at right back, stepping in because neither Sean Franklin nor Bryan Jordan are healthy.
Rowe, the No. 3 overall pick out of UCLA in last month's SuperDraft, was marvelous for the Revs, constantly probing the Galaxy defense, whipping in good crosses from the right flank and combining with teammates to exploit space.
WORTH NOTING: Landon Donovan's trip to Arizona apparently is uncertain. He was scheduled to fly Tuesday to Tucson, but the flu bug that forced him to miss Everton's F.A. Cup match last weekend kept him off the flight, and when (and if) he'll travel isn't known. He's supposed to fly this weekend to Genoa for next week's U.S.-Italy match. ... Keat departs Friday for home, for New Zealand's game next week against Jamaica. Michael Stephens already has joined the U.S. under-23 camp in Frisco, Texas, in advance of next week's game against Mexico's U-23s. ... Magee played his first minutes since departing early in the preseason opener, back on Feb. 3, with hamstring tightness. ... Real Salt Lake beat New York, 1-0, in the second game on Paulo Jr.'s 75th-minute header. ... The Galaxy on faces Real Salt Lake -- their MLS opening-night foe -- at 5 p.m. PT Saturday, then meets the Red Stars next Wednesday at 7. The final and third-place games are March 3. ... All of the Desert Diamond Cup matches are being streamed at the league's website.
DESERT DIAMOND CUP
Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium (Tucson, Ariz.)
Galaxy 2, New England Revolution 3
NE -- Benny Feilhaber 2
LA -- Edson Buddle (David Beckham) 31
NE -- John Lozano (Kelyn Rowe) 36
LA -- Mike Magee (Adam Cristman) 38
NE -- Jeremiah White (Alec Purdie) 74
Galaxy: Josh Saunders; Dan Keat, Tommy Meyer, A.J. DeLaGarza, Todd Dunivant; Pat Noonan (Hector Jimenez, 56), Marcelo Sarvas. David Beckham, Mike Magee (Juninho, 46); Edson Buddle (Jack McBean, 78), Adam Cristman (Paolo Cardozo, 46).
New England Revolution: Matt Reis (Bobby Shuttleworth, 46); Darrius Barnes, John Lozano (Florian Lechner, 46; Ryan Kinne, 76), Stephen McCarthy (Gabe Mercier, 76), Chris Tierney; Kelyn Rowe (Alec Purdie, 74), Clyde Simms (Luscito Campisi, 46; Fernando Cardenas, 79), Shalrie Joseph, Benny Feilhaber (Diego Fagundez, 74); Saër Sene (Bjorn Runstrom, 46; Zack Schilawski, 79), Blake Brettschneider (Jeremiah White, 46; Michael Roach, 79).
Yellow cards: Sarvas 23.
Referee: Unavailable. Att.: NA.
Record: 2-4-0; vs. MLS: 1-4-0
Feb. 3 vs. L.A. Blues (USL Pro): W, 7-2 (Sarvas pen. 12, Dunivant 29, Cristman 36, 45, Cardozo 42, McBean 63, Nakazawa pen. 85)
Feb. 7 vs. Portland: L ,1-4 (Keat 80)
Feb. 10 vs. Houston: L, 0-1
Feb. 14 vs. Montreal: L, 0-3
Feb. 16 vs. Chivas USA: W, 3-2 (Noonan 21, Cristman 31, Keat 40)
Feb. 22 vs. New England: L, 2-3 (Buddle 31, Magee 38)
Feb. 25 vs. Real Salt Lake at Tucson
Feb. 29 vs. New York at Tucson
March 3 Desert Diamond Cup final/third-place game at Tucson