Manchester United dropped a 7-0 hammer on the Los Angeles Galaxy on Wednesday night that was so resounding it would've made the humiliated Brazilians blush.
Galaxy coach Bruce Arena called it a lesson for a lot of players, while forward Robbie Keane called it embarrassing. “It's embarrassing because we're the LA Galaxy, and the score line doesn't reflect how good of a team we are. It certainly doesn't.”
Landon Donovan subbed on in the 61st minute and took a more measured approach to the pounding.
"The first goal we give the ball away and they score, the second goal is a handball [which gave United a penalty], the third goes through Tommy [Meyer's] legs and they score, and all of a sudden it's 3-0 in what was maybe a 1-0 type half. ... Against Arizona United you get away [with mistakes and players playing out of position]. Against Manchester United, you don't get away with that."
Of the five MLS exhibitions against English competition on Wednesday night, the Galaxy suffered the worst defeat. Sporting Kansas City, though, lost 4-1 to Manchester City. Only the Columbus Crew, which drew Crystal Palace 2-2, earned a positive result. As awful as the MLS looked compared to some of the world's elite, it's important to note that Wednesday's games were all exhibitions. The MLS teams are all lodged in the middle of their regular season, and thus aren't keen on wasting effort and risking injury on largely meaningless games.
While the games are meaningless in terms of league play, star-studded exhibitions are vital for exposure, advertising and increasing soccer's ever-growing popularity. It's also a brilliant strategy from MLS's perspective as it tries to capitalize on the lingering impact of the World Cup.
Still, the score line of the United-Galaxy game left a lot to be desired, especially when you consider how the third goal (Wayne Rooney's second of the game) was scored:
The US, as evident by the success of this summer's World Cup, has a market for soccer and has the capability of establishing it as a major sport. Its best players, Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey, each chose to play domestically. It's also largely becoming a cushy landing spot for established European veterans looking to cash in on their popularity while playing out the tail ends of their careers. Of course there will be struggles (see last night's scores), but there's no denying that soccer is quickly becoming much more than a niche sport.
(H/T Next Impulse Sports)