Saturday, July 16, 2011
Galaxy's Juninho giddy to face countrymen
By Blair Angulo
The Galaxy's Juninho, left, was pushed on this play by Brazilian countryman, Kaka, but the two later exchanged jerseys.
LOS ANGELES -- Galaxy midfielder Juninho was thankful in defeat Saturday night, citing the experience gained in playing against one of the world's top clubs. Perhaps giddy is a better description.
Juninho grinned from ear to ear when asked whom he exchanged jerseys with following the Galaxy's 4-1 loss to Real Madrid at the Memorial Coliseum.
"Kaká and two other Brazilians," Juninho said, his eyes lighting up.
Juninho, 22, is a product of the renowned Sao Paulo youth ranks. So is Real Madrid's Kaká, one of the Brazilian national team's recent jewels. They never played together and had never met before Saturday, but Juninho said Friday he would pursue his countryman's jersey at all costs.
Both players were on the pitch together in the first half before Kaká, and eight other Real Madrid players, exited at the break. A Juninho giveaway pass, to Kaká of all players, led to Real Madrid's first goal. Juninho's only shot attempt of the night sailed high.
"I think the experience was good," Juninho said. "We lost and we didn't play like we wanted to, but the experience was the most important thing."