LA Galaxy fall to Pumas UNAM in Mexico City
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO (BDCi) — The LA Galaxy had a good showing in their preseason matchup with Pumas UNAM but failed to get the result they wanted.
The Galaxy fell 2-1 to Liga MX side Pumas UNAM on Tuesday in a closed door scrimmage at the Estadio Olimpico Universario in Mexico City. Pumas forward Ismael Sosa scored in both halves while Galaxy rookie center back Kyle Venter added one late for the visitors.
“I think it was a good training exercise for our team,” said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. “Obviously, the altitude was very challenging, but Pumas has a good team and this was a good training exercise.”
The Galaxy started largely their first team against Pumas mix of regulars and reserves which allowed LA to control the game early but failed to capitalize. After just five minutes in, Landon Donovan fired a cross to Rob Friend but his header sailed over the bar. Minutes later, Samuel nearly got a goal when again Donovan orchestrated play in the midfield, finding the Brazilian who turned a defender and lashed a shot that missed the net of the Pumas goalkeeper Alfredo Saldivar by inches.
As the match continued, the altitude was a problem for the Galaxy players and Puma took advantage. Just past the half-hour mark, Pumas struck first when the forced a Galaxy turnover in midfield that led to a counter attack from midfielder Diego Lagos.The Mexican midfielder played a pinpoint cross to a waiting Sosa who unleashed a closed-range shot past goalkeeper Jaime Penedo.
“The elevation was a big factor. We looked like we struggled a lot; but then again , they’re a very good team and did well for each other. We tried keeping the ball, but we didn’t play our game,” starting midfielder Baggio Husidic said.
In the second half, Bruce Arena sent out an entirely new lineup that played UNAM fairly even until the 70th minute when Sosa struck again, this time off a corner kick that he nodded past Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Perk. Once the Galaxy were down by two goals, the Galaxy began to capitalize on the space provided by the Pumas defense as forward Chandler Hoffman repeatedly challenged the Pumas back four.
Finally in the 78th minute, the Galaxy got on the board off a corner kick as Marcelo Sarvas launched a curling cross into the penalty area and connected with the head of Venter who scored his first ever goal in a Galaxy uniform.
“[The goal] was something we should have had a long time ago given the height advantage that we have. It was a shame we couldn’t have gotten more in the first half, but Marcelo played a great ball to me along the back post that was an easy tap in header,” said Venter.
The Galaxy resume preseason play on Saturday in Fresno against the San Jose Earthquakes for the Central California Cup.