Real Madrid vs. Los Angeles Galaxy: 10 Bold Predictions
Los Blancos will aim to bounce back from an embarrassing 5-2 defeat to Benfica in the Eusebio Cup in Lisbon on July 27.
Real Madrid take on a Los Angeles Galaxy team that has been on the rebound just recently, eking out a 10-10-3 record (33 points) to remain fifth in the MLS Western Conference standings.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. PT/10:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes.
Here are 10 bold predictions for this international club friendly between Real Madrid and the LA Galaxy.
1. Real Madrid Will Dominate the Stat Sheet
If you are Jose Mourinho, you know you have the talent to make matches like this become an exercise in muscle-flexing against an inconsistent opponent like the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Look at the traveling roster Mourinho is bringing out (via LAGalaxy.com). This is a side that is built to defend their La Liga title and make another deep run in the UEFA Champions League.
GOALKEEPER (3) – Iker Casillas, Antonio Adán, Jesus Fernandez Collado
DEFENDERS (7) – Raul Albiol, Alvaro Arbeola, Fabio Coentrão, Jose Nacho Fernández, Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane
MIDFIELDER (11) – Xabi Alonso, Jose Maria Callejon, Angel Di Maria, Lass Diarra, Alex Fernandez, Esteban Granero, Kaka, Sami Khedira, Mesut Özil, Jese Rodriguez, Nuri Sahin
FORWARD (4) – Karim Benzema, Gonzalo Higuain, Alvaro Morata, Cristiano Ronaldo
2. Los Angeles Will Not Score in This Contest
Retired forward Adam Cristman was lucky enough to catch Real Madrid sleeping on the job late in the second half last year at the Coliseum.
Cristman has since hung up his cleats due to one-too-many concussions, meaning the Galaxy will have a tough time scoring on a Real Madrid side built to dispossess lesser opponents with fluidity and precision.
No goals for LA—in fact, this would be a good time to think ahead to the match against the Seattle Sounders on Aug. 5.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo with a Brace
Last season, Cristiano Ronaldo scored 60 goals in all competitions, including 46 in La Liga play. If there is one man the fans on both sides wanted to see, it's CR7.
Look for Cristiano Ronaldo to score a brace.
4. Mesut Ozil with Two Assists
German international Mesut Ozil is Real Madrid's top provider, recording 24 assists in all competitions a season ago.
His style of delivery and exceptional play as an attacking midfielder is the envy of many an opponent in Europe, and Ozil will be on display at Victoria Street. Expect two assists.
5. Karim Benzema on the Score Sheet
Frenchman Karim Benzema is Real Madrid's leading goal-scorer behind Ronaldo, with 32 to his credit last season, including 21 in La Liga play.
Benzema will not get a brace, but he will get on the score sheet.
6. Gonzalo Higuain on the Score Sheet
Another player to watch out for is Argentina's Gonzalo Higuain, who scored 26 goals last year, 22 of which were scored in La Liga.
Ronaldo, Benzema and Higuain have accounted for 118 goals in all competitions. Expect Higuain to score for Real in this match.
7. LA's Goalkeepers Will Not Make a Lot of Saves on Thursday
Whoever starts in goal for Los Angeles—be it Brian Perk (pictured), Brian Rowe or (heaven forbid) Josh Saunders—expect them to have a difficult time making saves.
Under five saves will be made by LA's goalkeeper tandem, because this is a literal mismatch.
Despite the Galaxy having David Beckham, Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane, it's going to get ugly.
8. Quiet Night for Iker Casillas
Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas, who made 53 starts in goal for Real Madrid, will not have to make a lot of saves.
The back four of Alvaro Arbeloa, Pepe, Sergio Ramos and Marcelo Vieira (to differentiate from LA midfielder Marcelo Sarvas) is one of the best in Europe. They will make this a relatively easy night for Casillas. Expect him to make under five saves.
9. David Beckham Gets a Yellow
Friendly or no friendly, David Beckham is going to have at it with the match referee, and he is going to be cautioned.
With the crowd expected to be mostly Real Madrid fans, who most likely won't visit the Home Depot Center for the rest of the 2012 MLS season (although this columnist can be proven wrong), David Beckham will get a yellow.
That being said, he won't get sent off.
10. Just Another Victory for Real Madrid. What Else Is New?
Last year, Real Madrid defeated the Los Angeles Galaxy 4-1 in downtown Los Angeles.
This time around, it will be a much improved performance from Real's first team and reserves defensively.
And it's onward to Vegas.
Real Madrid 5, Los Angeles Galaxy 0