At the end of the day everyone went home happy, as the Los Angeles Galaxy played Manchester City to a 1-1 draw that was decided on penalties according to World Football Classic rules. Manchester City and the Galaxy were tied 4-4 at the end of the first five, so it had to go to sudden death kicks. Even then, it took til the 9th kick for City to take the match. Joe Hart took the final penalty that gave City the victory.
"I think it was a good afternoon," said Galaxy manager Bruce Arena. "Man City wanted to move along some of their players, and got them extended minutes in this game. We had the opportunity to play twenty two players of which [were] some young players who haven't gotten a whole lot of playing time this year. I think that was a real positive. I liked the second half, we weren't any good in the first half. The penalty kicks were fabulous. Joe Hart was fantastic in the shootout."
Manchester City won the first half easily, but the Home Depot Center came alive in the second half behind a brilliant effort from the home club. With manager Bruce Arena using all eight substitutions out of the gate after halftime, it was a completely different Galaxy team out there. Sean Franklin stayed in the match for a few more minutes, but came out for Frankie Hejduk fifteen minutes later. There was good news for Galaxy fans, as Omar Gonzalez came in after halftime, wearing a protective mask for his nose.
There was more good news, as Mike Magee scored the equalizer in the 51' on a brilliant volley. Chris Birchall kept in a long pass with a header to Magee, and finding himself alone on the left side of the attacking zone didn't hesitate and struck a left footed volley that dipped down into the far corner over Joe Hart's diving save attempt.
There were also some firsts for the Galaxy. Kyle Davies, who the Galaxy brought in to replace Leonardo after his season ending injury, started the match. Sixteen year old Jack McBean, who played with the US U-17 team in the World Cup in Mexico, made his Galaxy debut in the second half. Dustin McCarty and Dan Keat, who the Galaxy brought in through the supplemental draft and have yet to appear with the big club, both came in later in the second half. It was, for the first time this year really, a chance for the reserves and the future of the club to show what they could do in front of the Home Depot Center crowd.
The story of the first half all came down to one player. Mario Balotelli managed to turn up the heat on a friendly, after his first half antics turned to entire ACBrigade against him. Chants of "You'll never be United" rang out loudly, and the 24,897 in the crowd were into the game the rest of the way.
City managed a goal on a penalty, after Micah Richards went down in the box. While the validity of the penalty might be in question, twenty year old Balotelli stutter stepped to take Josh Saunders out of his shoes. While this was enough to annoy the crowd, it wasn't enough to turn them and his coach against him. That moment came when Mario broke through the Galaxy defense and, completely alone on goal, turned around to attempt a back heel kick. The attempt went wide left, and the crowd was livid. Not only did the crowd get upset, but Robert Mancini pulled Balotelli right away, bringing in James Milner. Mario wouldn't stop and talk to his coach, however; he walked down the bench like Mancici wasn't even there.
Balotelli may have earned the nickname Super Mario amongst Manchester City fans, but the twenty year old proved himself quite the hot head in front of a national audience in America. The other problem for City was injuries. Micah Richards was done for a long time in the box, and Gael Clichy had a head knock in the 6' that left him on the pitch for a good while. That combined with the Yaya Toure injury means this was a quite injury filled experience for Manchester City.
The Galaxy, who have been suffering through their own injury bug, didn't lose anybody else, but did have a few surprise scratches. Landon Donovan stayed out of the gameday lineup, suffering a left calf injury in practice. Juan Pablo Angel also stayed out of the gameday lineup, with a left calf contusion he suffered in the match against Columbus on Wednesday.
Goals: LA Galaxy: Mike Magee 51', Manchester City: Mario Balotelli 20' (pen)
Penalty Shootout: 7-6 Manchester City.
LA Galaxy: Dan Keat, Chris Birchall, Todd Dunivant, Omar Gonazlez, Dustin McCarty, Michael Stephens.
Manchester City: James Milner, Vladamir Weiss, Denis Suarez, Aleksandar Kolarov, Nigel de Jong, Sean Wright Phillips, Joe Hart.