How’s this for a statement! Bruce Arena’s Los Angeles Galaxy, after getting outclassed 3-1 by Real Madrid, pull off one of the biggest victories in their history, a 3-1 upset of Juventus in the 2013 International Champions Cup. This is sure to be a match that will give Major League Soccer some sort of respectability, if there hasn’t been any already.
Here are six things we learned from a historic night at historic Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif.
1. Heavy action to start the first half
Early on in the first half, a chance from Marcelo Sarvas in the second minute went high and over the bar. In the fourth minute, Alessandro Matri nearly took advantage of poor defending from the Galaxy but his attempt just missed wide right.
Landon Donovan won a dangerous set piece from outside the penalty box in the sixth minute, but Jose Villareal’s shot went off the wall. Omar Gonzalez conceded a corner in the seventh minute of play to the Bianconeri but it didn’t amount to much. Robbie Rogers almost broke through in the ninth minute but his shot missed wide right. Gianluigi Buffon came up with a point-blank save on Donovan in the 10th minute of play. Rogers had another chance in the 13th minute but missed it to the left.
2. Tempo slows down midway through first half
Rogers won a corner in the 16th minute for Landon Donovan, but that was cleared. Fabio Quagliarella’s first attempt on goal in the 17th didn’t miss by much. Sarvas had another big chance in the 19th minute but Buffon was there to make the save. After a long ball possession battle that saw neither team get a good look on goal, Juventus earned a corner in the 27th minute that was collected.
3. Finally, the goals arrive
The Galaxy won the possession battle and frustrated Juventus in the first half. Juninho’s diagonal ball in the 35th minute missed Rogers. But he was able to find Omar Gonzalez, who finally broke though in the 36th minute to give Los Angeles an early 1-0 lead over the Bianconeri.
But in the 39th minute, Juventus finally showed their class. The aformentioned Matri was able to take advantage of a poorly-saved ball by Galaxy backup goalkeeper Brian Rowe to equalize the match at 1-1. That would be the scoreline at the break, to the boos of the pro-Juventus crowd.
4. Keane and Donovan give LA the lead again
Early on in ther second half, Robbie Keane was subbed in for Jose Villareal, a sign that the Galaxy were intent on winning this contest. As for Juventus, manager Antonio Conte elected to make some wholesale changes to give the entire roster a run-out.
A Landon Donovan corner in the 52nd minute was cleared. The fans were clamoring for a Galaxy penalty in the 53rd minute but refereee Baldomero Toledo played advantage to the Bianconeri. A chance for Juninho in the 55th minute lacked originality and was collected by backup Juve goalkeeper Marco Storari. Donovan took back the lead at the hour mark thanks to bad defending from Juventus and a mugging by Keane. It was game on once again.
5. Los Angeles try to wrest control of the match
After the Donovan goal, the Galaxy elected to impose their will. Brian Rowe made a diving two-fister in the 63rd minute as Juventus elected to bring players forward in the attack. Driving players forward and pressuring in the attacking third has been the way to defeat this Galaxy team all season. A delivery from LA found the reach of Storari in the 66th minute of play.
Andrea Pirlo’s corner in the 67th minute was cleared, but the ensuing possession forced a set piece a minute late. Pirlo, Jesus beard and all, saw his attempt just miss over the bar. Rowe made a big collection in the 75th minute, and this contest would go down to the final 15 and stoppage.
6. Keane leaves no doubt
Rowe surrendered a corner in the 76th minute to Juventus which was taken short. A would-be penalty call was held back by Toledo, and a minute later, Marcelo Sarvas earned a yellow for a rough challenge. Sebastian Giovinco nearly leveled the match in the 78th minute for the Bianconeri but hit the side netting. A chance for Rogers in the 80th minute was cleared for a Galaxy corner. In the 81st minute, Giovinco nearly took advantage of questionable defending from Donovan, but the finish wasn’t there.
Perhaps it would take the Galaxy electing to sub in its reserves late to give Juventus a chance to get back in the match. Fernando Llorente’s best look of the night in the 83rd minute just sailed wide left. In the 89th minute, Keane got on the scoresheet, taking advantage of a Pirlo miscue to make it 3-1.
So much for Keano not being a factor in the Bold Predictions. That would be it, as the Galaxy head into Miami to play for third place in the International Champions Cup on Aug. 7 against a team to be determined.