Suárez finally broke through when he controlled an overhead pass from Marc Bartra and knocked it past Rowe shortly before half-time.
The Galaxy began their existence with home games at the Rose Bowl in 1996, but they have lost all four of their exhibition matches against European powers at the famed stadium since they moved south to Carson’s StubHub Center in 2003. “I’m not going to say what I said, or what he told me,” Enrique said of Pedro, who played the first half. When he says something, then I’ll say something.”
The MLS MVP Robbie Keane and new arrival Steven Gerrard played the first half for the Galaxy, who were short-handed with four regulars and new signing Giovani Dos Santos all away on Gold Cup international duty.
Gerrard and Suárez were team-mates at Liverpool two seasons ago, and the former Reds shared a hug while taking the field before trading jerseys at half-time.
Barcelona substituted seven players at half-time, using Gerard Piqué and Andrés Iniesta, while the Galaxy changed their entire lineup, largely using development team players. “I’m happy with the way the team played overall. “It’s the decision of the player. The intensity was similar to what we’ve seen in practice.”
Luis Suárez scored in the 45th minute, and Barcelona opened their US pre-season tour with a 2-1 victory over the defending MLS champions on Tuesday night.
“Some of these kids are 19 years old, and it’s a fabulous experience for them,” the Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. Barcelona paraded their new home jerseys with horizontal blue-and-red stripes for the first time, flouting 115 seasons of vertical-stripe tradition with the Nike kits.
The record crowd largely supported Barcelona despite the absence of Lionel Messi and Neymar, who stayed home from the International Champions Cup tour to stay fresh for the games that count. “To be able to see where I want to be in the future, to imagine being in their shoes, just encourages me to work harder.”
The record Rose Bowl crowd of 93,226 largely wore scarlet and blue, chanting and cheering on mighty Barcelona’s solid season-opening performance against the LA Galaxy. The Galaxy still hung in against the European champions despite struggling for shots, markedly improving on their 7-0 loss to Manchester United on the same field a year ago.
“Considering we’ve only practised about seven days and had a lot of travelling, overall I come away with a good sensation,” the Barcelona coach Luis Enrique said. “I don’t think Keane and Gerrard get as much out of these games as the younger players do.”
“I’m really speechless to be able to play on the same field with such great professional athletes, people I’ve watched on TV for so long,” said Ariel Lassiter, a 20-year-old forward from the Galaxy’s reserve team. By the final minutes, many of those same fans were roaring for the local team’s reserves as they stayed competitive with a European superpower.
Sergi Roberto also scored in the 56th minute as the Champions League winners largely controlled the match, delighting the biggest crowd for a club soccer game involving an MLS team in US history.. Barcelona beat the Galaxy 2-1 at the Rose Bowl in 2009, with another pro-Barça crowd booing the former Real star David Beckham every time he touched the ball.
Yet the Galaxy took consolation in a solid effort despite missing several of their own regulars – and their second-half lineup filled with youngsters even got a goal. Manchester United are reportedly targeting the Spain international. Tommy Meyer scored with a header from Mika Vayrynen’s pass late in second-half injury time, denying Barcelona a clean sheet.
Barcelona arrived in southern California just two days ago, and Kobe Bryant visited their training on Monday. Dani Alves and Claudio Bravo were also unavailable because of the Gold Cup.
Barcelona dominated possession from the opening minutes and the hosts failed to manage a shot in the first half, but the Galaxy hung on despite missing their star defender Omar Gonzalez, away with the US national team.
Related: Luis Suárez hopes Pedro will reject a move away from Barcelona
Enrique declined to give an update on the status of Pedro, only saying he had spoken to the forward about his playing future. The Lakers great also stopped by the Galaxy’s workout to meet Gerrard
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