The past few weeks have proven that North America isn’t ready to play football (soccer) with Europe. The World Football Challenge has pitted MLS teams like the L.A. Galaxy against European teams like Manchester United and Real Madrid. The match–ups have been largely 犀利士
lass=”word”>one–sided, favoring the European teams. Despite playing many bench players, the European football giants have been able to show why they are in a different league.
In their first match, Manchester United used the New England Revolutions as target practice, beating them 4–1. Real Madrid won in a similar fashion, coasting past even the “highly touted” Landon Donovan and the L.A. Galaxy 4–1. While Manchester City only beat Club America 2–0 in their first match, those goals came early in the game and were comfortably defended.
These early games weren’t even the worst of it. In their next match for the World Football Challenge, Manchester United decimated the U.S. club Seattle Sounders 7–0. The first half was relatively peaceful, with Man U only taking a one-goal lead. As soon as the second half started though, with a few substitutions by Man U, the U.S. team was picked apart. Just 4 minutes into the second half, Diouf scored. Only 3 minutes later, Wayne Rooney scored the first goal of his hat trick, which would be completed less than 21 minutes later. By the end of it, Manchester United was up by a touchdown in American football, with 5 different players scoring at least once. Again, Real Madrid dealt a similar fate to their opponents. Not to be shown up by Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo scored his own hat trick in only 9 minutes to push Real Madrid past Chivas de Guadalajara 3–0.
Considering the results, the “World Football Challenge” has become the “European Football Domination”. Despite this, the World Football Challenge is something that will be good for MLS. It’s evident that football over in Europe is, for now, incomparable, but take this as a learning experience. You have to get beat down a few times before you get up stronger than before. If they can get past their crushing defeats, MLS players have a lot they can learn from facing seasoned veterans like Real Madrid and Manchester United. With more practice, and if the MLS can bring in more players like David Beckham and Thierry Henry, sometime in the future MLS teams may be able to compete with the English Premier League and La Liga.
Last night, Barcelona was stunned by Chivas de Guadalajara in the World Football Challenge. Chivas handed the UEFA Champion’s League winners an overwhelming 4–1 loss. This also marked Barcelona’s first loss by a three-goal margin since Pep Guardiola took over three years ago.
The man leading Chivas to victory was Marco Fabian. With two of his own goals and more shots on target, he kept the pressure on Barcelona, who fell apart in the second half. Going into the second half down 0–1, Fabian scored the equalizer in the 60th minute with a perfectly placed strike from 25 yards out. His next goal was even more impressive. Three minutes after the first goal, Arellano set up Fabian with a cross. With a well–placed scissor kick, Fabian put Chivas ahead of Barcelona 2–1. Chivas was able to stop Barcelona’s attacks and took advantage of their opportunities to score two more times before the end of the game, finally winning 4–1.
While Chivas did play a great game, Barcelona didn’t look at themselves at all. Their passing didn’t have the same fluidity, and their defenders looked sluggish on the field. On the path to Chivas’s third goal, Barcelona defenders slowed to a walk which allowed Casillas to score. This wasn’t the only time Barcelona was caught off guard. Barcelona was slow to defend against counterattacks throughout the whole game. They struggled to transition from offense to defense, often allowing Chivas past the midfield before defenders started actually defending.
Another reason Barcelona lost was that they were playing several bench players like goalkeeper Pinto. The key component of their team, Xavi, only played the first half. His absence in the second half was significant, considering the 4 goals by Chivas. Barcelona was also missing several star players like Puyol (injury), Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi, and Dani Alves (vacation). So before you go thinking that’s all Barca has, remember that they’re considered the best team in the world for a reason, and watch them play with all of their starters,