By Alex Baker
(Carson, CA) – Mike Magee must be having the time of his life these days. A few weeks ago the Galaxy midfielder maintained a shutout after he stood in goal for an injured Donovan Ricketts and an ejected Josh Saunders. Saturday he came on as a second half sub and netted an equalizer in the Galaxy’s friendly with Manchester City.
City had taken the lead in the 19th minute on a stuttering Mario Balotelli penalty kick that was awarded after Micah Richards was brought down inside the 18. The Italian striker stepped up to the spot and shot low to the right as Saunders dove left to put City 1-0 up.
Balotelli could have easily added to his tally ten minutes later when he was played in on goal by David Silva. However instead of putting away what looked like an easy shot the former Inter man attempted a pointless backheel and missed the net. Moments later he was subbed off by a furious Roberto Mancini to make way for James Milner.
Magee’s equalizer came in the second half after the Galaxy had made a number of substitutions. The British FA Cup winners still went on to win the match on penalty kicks with goalkeeper Joe Hart scoring the decider.
The first half had been dominated by City with Balotelli testing Saunders inside of five minutes. But while the visiting EPL side looked solid in defense they were unconvincing going forward. Balotelli’s temperament and former Wolfsburg striker, Edin Dzeko’s inability to line up a shot raise questions about how City will replicate last season’s form without want away Argentine striker Carlos Tevez.
Spanish midfielder David Silva put in a standout performance and got off a shot in the 12th that went just wide of the far post.
LA seemed unable to move the ball forward meaningfully in the first half, although Adam Cristman did test Hart during when he was played in on a counterattack around the half hour mark.
Bryan Jordan also got a shot off from edge of 18 that was push pushed wide in the 32nd for a corner. A broadly smiling David Beckham strode forward to take the corner under a hail of boos from Manchester City supporters. However Hart made the catch and the danger was cleared.
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena made a number of tactical substitutions in the second half bringing on Magee, Juninho and Chris Birchall among others while taking off Beckham, Cristman and Jordan. Midfielder Landon Donovan and striker Juan Pablo Angel were both unavailable due to injury.
The Galaxy in the second half seemed an altogether different prospect from the first, testing City’s keeper several times while denying City’s goal scorers much opportunity. Magee’s 53rd minute blast from 20 yards out was the only goal scored in open play during the match.
With the score deadlocked at 1-1 in the 90-minute, the game went to penalties with Man City emerging as the 7-6 winners.
The Galaxy will likely be relieved to be able to now return their focus to an MLS title challenge in which they are being hotly pursued by the likes of FC Dallas and the Seattle Sounders.