Galaxy, America triumph in double-header at glitzy new stadium

Galaxy, America triumph in double-header at glitzy new stadium

Los Angeles Galaxy's Dejan Joveljic scores in front of Jesus Sanchez in a 2-0 friendly win over Chivas Guadalajara at Sofi Stadium in Los Angeles
Los Angeles Galaxy's Dejan Joveljic scores in front of Jesus Sanchez in a 2-0 friendly win over Chivas Guadalajara at Sofi Stadium in Los Angeles. Photo: Harry How / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/Getty Images via AFP
Source: AFP

Honors were even between the United States and Mexico on Wednesday with Los Angeles Galaxy and Club America coming away with victories in the Leagues Cup Showcase friendly double-header at SoFi Stadium.

The glitzy $5 billion home of the NFL's Los Angeles Rams, named in June as one of the venues for the 2026 World Cup, hosted soccer matches for the first time, drawing a sellout crowd of 71,189.

Major League Soccer's Galaxy opened the evening with a 2-0 victory over Liga MX outfit Chivas Guadalajara.

Then Club America edged Los Angeles FC 6-5 on penalties after their match ended 0-0.

The friendlies, with more matches to be played in Nashville, Salt Lake City and Cincinnati, are a preview of next year's Leagues Cup tournament, a month-long event featuring all 47 Liga MX and MLS teams with CONCACAF Champions League berths on the line.

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The stadium needs some changes to be capable of hosting World Cup matches. Wednesday's games were played on a grass pitch temporarily laid on top of the stadium's usual artificial turf.

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And the pitch was less than 63m wide -- at least five meters narrower than FIFA prefers -- but will be reconfigured for the World Cup with the removal of some seating.

Dejan Jovelic and 19-year-old Jonathan Perez scored for the Galaxy to lift the MLS club to victory in the opener.

Jovelic continued a strong run of form, racing onto a corner kick from Efrain Alvarez and firing into the net.

Perez sealed the win with a spectacular goal in the 62nd minute, gathering a pass from Samuel Grandsir outside the penalty area and unleashing a long-range blast that beat Chivas goalkeeper Jose Rangel.

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Galaxy's former Manchester United striker Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, who began his professional career at Chivas, played the first 45 minutes before he was substituted in a stream of changes by both clubs.

Fans stand for the national anthem before the start of the Leagues Cup Showcase friendly double-header at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles
Fans stand for the national anthem before the start of the Leagues Cup Showcase friendly double-header at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. Photo: Harry How / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/Getty Images via AFP
Source: AFP

The second match was a lively affair with Club America forcing LAFC goalkeeper John McCarthy into a couple of diving saves and Los Angeles attackers Latif Blessing and Kwadwo Opoku threatening.

LAFC nearly went down a man late in the first half when defender Mamadou Fall was shown a straight red card afer a tackle only for it to be rescinded after video review.

In the shootout, each keeper made one save before, at 5-5, Club America's Emilio Lara fired his attempt past McCarthy and LAFC midfielder Jose Cifuentes blazed over the bar.

LAFC star Carlos Vela entered after half-time and recent acquisition from Real Madrid, Gareth Bale, came on in the 62nd minute.

Source: AFP