Los Angeles Soccer: Manchester City FC
CARSON -- Officially, Manchester City won Saturday afternoon's friendly against the Galaxy, prevailing on penalty kicks following a 1-1 draw. But it felt like a victory for L.A., who were the better side in the second half, rallied on a superb Mike Magee goal and accomplished most of what it set out to do.
“I think I saw a little bit more today than I saw in [last week's friendly against Real] Madrid,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said after his team shook off a poor first half to create more than enough chances to beat the English Premier League powerhouse in the World Football Challenge clash at Home Depot Center.
“I think we're gonna have to be playing three games a week for an extended period of time” -- actually, it's twice a week, once CONCACAF Champions League play begins -- “and we need to go deep into our roster. Today were some indications that there are some players we can use, which is a positive.”
The best such impression was made by rookie midfielder Dan Keat, from New Zealand by way of Dartmouth College, who was slowed by injury early this season but looks like he's ready to contribute now.
Keat played two superb long balls to Chris Birchall, the first one leading to Magee's 53rd-minute goal, the second to a Todd Dunivant chance two minutes later, and and tested City goalkeeper Joe Hart with a blast from Dunivant's rebound. He won balls in midfield and was a solid conduit as the Galaxy took charge over their tiring foe as time wore on.
“I thought Dan Keat played real well,” Arena said twice during his postgame news conference. “I was impressed with his composure, his passing. He had a good look at goal. ... His distribution was good, he got around the ball pretty well, won some tackles. ... That was very encouraging.”
Said Keat: “Today was all about going out there and showing that I can play at that level and giving a good showing of myself,” Keat said. “I think I did that. ... A lot of players stood up and did well. It's good for Bruce to see that everyone performed at that level and showed they can contribute to the second half of the MLS season.”
Winger Hector Jimenez and defender Kyle Davies made their first starts for the first team, and 16-year-old forward Jack McBean and midfielder Dustin McCarty made their initial first-team appearances.
Frankie Hejduk returned to the field following a lengthy ankle injury, playing 30 minutes in the second half -- “Huge for us,” Arena said -- and reserve forward Adam Cristman, midfielder Jovan Kirovski and goalkeeper Brian Perk got ample time. Michael Stephens went the full 90, splitting time in central defense and on the left flank. Omar Gonzalez, wearing a mask to protect his fractured nose, played 45 minutes after missing L.A.'s last two games.
The English Premier League club's roster for three games in the World Football Challenge series of exhibitions -- including the July 24 friendly against the Galaxy at Home Depot Center -- was released Thursday. The names of those not here are about as impressive as those who are.
There's almost $110 million worth of talent -- that's 20 David Beckhams -- missing from Man City's 17-day North American tour. For instance, superstar Ivorian striker Emmanuel Adebayor, who spent the last half of last season on loan to Real Madrid and, the English media speculates, is awaiting a full transfer to the Spanish giant.
Maybe he should have come along. Real Madrid is in town, too, ahead of its game Saturday against the Galaxy at the Coliseum.
Adebayor wasn't happy to be left off the travel roster.
“I don't know what I have done wrong,” Adebayor said this week, according to Sky Sports. “I get an email out of the blue on my holidays telling me I wasn't going on the [U.S.] tour, and they told me I am not going to train with the first team. It's an insult to me to tell me I am now only fit to train with the reserves. I will return to training, but I feel I've been let down and disrespected.”
Argentine striker Carlos Tevez, the Blues' biggest star, is away at Copa America, South America's club championship. So are Argentine defender Pablo Zabaleta and Paraguayan forward Roque Santa Cruz, although Santa Cruz isn't expected to return to the club.
Neither is Irish goalkeeper Shay Given, who is in the final stages of a move to Aston Villa. Welsh forward Craig Bellamy and English defenders Wayne Bridge and Nedum Onuoha also appear to be headed out.
And Ivorian defender Kolo Toure is serving a six-month suspension after failing a drug test last spring.
The rising English Premier League giants took in the Dodgers' 4-1 win Sunday over the San Diego Padres, were honored on the field, and goalkeeper Joe Hart, a cricketer in his youth, threw out the first pitch.
Plenty of photos available at Man City's website.
The game will come eight days after L.A. meets Real Madrid at the Coliseum. Man City also is slated to play the Vancouver Whitecaps on July 18. All of these matches are part of the World Football Challenge series of exhibitions this summer in North America.
Man City, which is in renaissance under Italian manager Roberto Mancini and a succession of big-money foreign owners. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan and United Arab Emirates-based Abu Dhabi Group took over the club in September 2008 and have lavished millions on top players, spending more than $203 million on the transfer market, most in the English Premier League, heading into this season.
The Blues, who Saturday meet Stoke City in the F.A. Cup final, are led by Argentine forward Carlos Tevez, Ivorian defender Kolo Toure, English midfielder Gareth Barry, Spanish midfielder David Silva, Italian forward Mario Balotelli and Dutch midfielder Nigel de Jong.
Man City is fourth in the EPL standings with a 19-9-8 record and this week clinched a berth in next season's UEFA Champions League. Two games remain in the EPL season.
DAVIES SIGNED?: Have the Galaxy signed former U.S. youth international Kyle Davies off waivers from FC Dallas? Reports Wednesday out of New York say yes -- and the Galaxy is listed on his stats page on Major League Soccer's website -- but a club official said negotiations were still ongoing.