Real Madrid outclasses Galaxy
CARSON, Calif. -- Real Madrid's mastery of Major League Soccer's reigning champion was as complete as it was expected Thursday night. Even the vanquished didn't mind.
The Spanish champion scored early and often to open its four-game U.S. tour, outclassing the Los Angeles Galaxy 5-1 in an exhibition game that drew 30,317 to Home Depot Center, a stadium record for soccer.
Angel Di Maria fed Gonzalo Higuain's opener after just 85 seconds and made it 2-0 nine minutes later for Real Madrid, which added goals through Jose Maria Callejon in the 36th minute, Alvaro Morata four minutes into the second half and Alex Fernandez near the finish.
Real Madrid, widely considered the finest club team on the planet, dominated every phase of the match, running its record to 4-0 in preseason games against the Galaxy.
"If you look at the games Real Madrid plays in La Liga, they beat teams by bigger margins than they won tonight," Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. "We don't claim to be at the level of Real Madrid at this point in MLS, to be honest with you. If you play an exhibition tonight and you get a better result, it doesn't matter. We're not there yet.
"We don't worry about the result tonight, whether it was in our favor or not. This is an exhibition, there is obvious value for both teams, and it's a fabulous experience for our fans and to see one of the great teams in the world and some of the great players. It's not about the result and who won tonight and bragging rights. Has nothing to do with that, to be honest with you."
Good thing, because the Merengues, preparing for an Aug. 18 opener in the Spanish league, continually carved up the Galaxy backline while building a 4-1 advantage four minutes into the second half, then created plenty more chances that were snuffed by the young defense -- led by No. 2 goalkeeper Brian Perk and rookie center back Tommy Meyer -- Arena employed in the second half.
The Galaxy, more concerned with the MLS playoff race, have a critical league game Sunday at Seattle. Real Madrid, which plays Sunday against Mexican champion Santos Laguna in Las Vegas, Wednesday against Italian runner-up AC Milan at Yankee Stadium and Aug. 11 against Scottish titlist Celtic in Philadelphia, is building toward its season.
Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho called the match a "training session for us and for them."
"Galaxy is a kind of team that is not too worried about losing 4-1 or losing, 1-0," he said. "They're just worried about playing, playing well. Play their game, let us play, and in this moment of the season, I think it's the most important thing for us."
Brazilian defender David Junior Lopes, who scored the lone Galaxy goal in last week's 1-1 draw with English club Tottenham, scored the Galaxy's goal from a David Beckham free kick that Omar Gonzalez headed into the goalmouth.
It was the third straight year Real Madrid has played the Galaxy in a preseason exhibition after spending a week training at UCLA. Mourinho previously brought Chelsea and Inter Milan to Southern California for preseason training.
Real Madrid brought on several of its biggest stars -- including Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Mesut Ozil -- for the second half, but L.A.'s defense limited their chances. The Galaxy also changed its entire team for the second half, with Beckham, Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane among those departing.
Higuain provided a second-minute lead when Di Maria's pass from the right flank caught Lopes flat-footed, and Di Maria made it 2-0 in the 11th, cutting inside from the right flank and blasting a left-footed shot between rookie Bryan Gaul's legs and past L.A. goalkeeper Josh Saunders.
Lopes halved the deficit in the 23rd, but Callejon finished a three-pass, full-field sequence after Higuain's feed sliced past three defenders to leave him an open shot on the left side of L.A.'s box in the 40th.
Morata tallied four minutes into the second half from an Esteban Granero chip, and Fernandez added a fifth with six minutes to play. Ronaldo nearly added another in the 86th, but rookie Tommy Meyer cleared the shot off the goal line.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press