INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) — Dejan Joveljic and Jonathan Pérez scored and the Los Angeles Galaxy beat Chivas de Guadalajara 2-0 in a friendly Wednesday night.
It was the first football match played at the SoFi Stadium, which will host World Cup matches in 2026, and served as a prelude to the League Cup competition between MLS and Liga MX clubs from the ‘next summer.
“I think now that the leagues, I think they’re closing and coming together a lot, and I think there’s a lot of respect between the two leagues and the clubs that now exist in both leagues, and so I see that the competition is taken seriously,” Galaxy coach Greg Vanney said. “I think the league, this league starting next year, is a good time.
Joveljic, a Serbian national team player, brought his left foot out to redirect an Efrain Alvarez corner into the first net in the 28th minute. With limited sideline due to the onslaught at pitch level, Alvarez kicked a moving ball and Joveljic got to the near post past two Chivas defenders to put the Galaxy ahead.
“Today it worked because he was an amazing cross,” Galaxy striker Javier “Chicharito” Hernández said. “You can see it, (Joveljic) just touch it. He didn’t even like hitting him, he just touched him.
Perez made it 2-0 in the 63rd minute with a well-taken shot from outside the penalty area that beat Raúl Rangel to the left of the goalkeeper. It was 19-year-old Perez’s first goal for the Galaxy.
“Jonny obviously steals the show with a superb goal. The kid is a special player,” Vanney said.
Hernández, who was born in Guadalajara and started his career at Chivas, almost put the Galaxy ahead in the opening seconds. He intercepted a bad back pass from Antonio Briseño after 15 seconds but was unable to fire before Rangel made a desperate sliding tackle.
Chivas had his own scoring chances early on, the most dangerous of which required Jonathan Klinsmann to make back-to-back reaction saves to prevent Miguel Ponce from close range in the 25th minute.
Club América won in a seven-round penalty shootout against LAFC after a 0-0 draw in the final drink of the doubleheader, which drew a reported crowd of 71,189.
“Thinking about the World Cup, it will be bananas,” LAFC coach Steve Cherundolo said of SoFi Stadium. Club América manager Fernando Ortiz described the venue as “spectacular” and “fantastic” through a translator.
José Cifuente put his kick over the goal and climbed into the stands after Emilio Lara converted his attempt.
The inability of both Liga MX sides to score in a combined 180 minutes was a major talking point during Ortiz’s post-match press conference. However, Cherundolo was careful not to read the results too much.
“I try not to talk about trends,” Cherundolo said. “I think we saw two interesting games tonight. Two different games, and all four teams were tied tonight.
“It was on a level playing field in terms of quality, so I think both MLS teams showed up tonight in a positive way,” he added.
Clearly treating the game as exhibition as they lead the Western Conference and are on course to win the Supporters’ Shield for the second time in five seasons, LAFC averted disaster when Mamadou Fall was shown a red card. for a tackle up front. Federico Viñas in the 40th minute reduced to yellow by VAR.
Fall cleared the goal line to prevent Lara’s searing shot from inside the box in the 51st minute.
Gareth Bale replaced LAFC in the 62nd minute as the Wales national team player and five-time Champions League winner continues to develop his fitness. Bale took and coolly converted the fifth penalty.
“His physical condition is improving and we plan to add more league minutes in the future,” Cherundolo said.
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