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Galaxy 0 - 1 Chelsea


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050718_pitch.jpgChelsea F.C. 1 - 0 LA GalaxyFriendly - 21 July - Home Depot Center - 18:00 kick-offA solitary strike from England and Chelsea skipper John Terry ensured his side maintained their excellent run of results in pre-season, as his strike early in the second half defeated David Beckham's Los Angeles Galaxy 1-0 at the Home Depot Center.The goal will come as a huge morale-boost for Terry, who scored just once in a Chelsea jersey in the 2006/2007 season, and means that the Blues return from the American West Coast with three wins and three impressive performances, as they return to Cobham to prepare for Dutch team Feyenoord at the weekend.Weighing up his options, Mourinho elected to field a near-full strength starting eleven, with Petr Cech, John Terry, Michael Essien, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba all playing. Joined at the back by Paulo Ferreira, Ricardo Carvalho and Tal Ben Haim at left-back, the Blues were clearly indicating they were not taking the game, nor their opposition lightly.The midfield was complimented by the speed and pace of Florent Malouda and Shaun Wright-Phillips, whilst fellow Ivorian striker Salomon Kalou joined Drogba in a pacey, strong attack.Whilst they may be struggling in the Western Division of the MLS, the Galaxy side featured American international Landon Donovan and Abel Xavier, a former Portuguese international that had been on the wrong end of a 3-0 thrashing the last time Chelsea and his former club Middlesbrough met. Alexi Lalas' star acquisition, wearing the same number 23 jersey as he did at Real Madrid was on the bench - his fitness has been question earlier and many had predicted his debut would have to be postponed.Whilst the tour had allowed regular faces in the Chelsea team to gain confidence and match fitness, new signings Tal Ben Haim, Steven Sidwell and Florent Malouda have been given the opportunity to show Jose Mourinho what they can do, whilst youngsters such as Jack Cork, Scott Sinclair and Sam Hutchinson have proven that Chelsea's academy can produce star talent from a young age.This friendly match, part of a non-competitive competition named the World Series of Football required a 6-0 victory for Chelsea after Mexican champions Tigres defeated Suwon Bluewings 3-0 earlier in the day, but despite plenty of chances, Chelsea seemed to be less clinical in front of goal than both the players and fans would have wanted, and many no doubt expected of the team.The game began at a lively pace with both sides putting the opposition defenders under pressure. However, it was not until ten minutes had passed until the first real chance of the game presented itself. With the teams settling down and tempo of the game dulling, Paulo Ferreira beat his marker and found Florent Malouda unmarked in the penalty area. With fantastic technique, the French midfielder volleyed the ball first-time. Destined for the bottom corner, Joe Cannon in between the sticks for the American side pulled off a brilliant instinctive save.The Galaxy side, despite their season in full swing, appeared shaky - right-back Roberts had been beaten for the umpteenth time by Malouda's pace and trickery by the time Galaxy's first opportunities arrived, some fifteen minutes into the game.Cech came running to deal with a cross, but failed to reach the ball and punch with any real conviction, but did well to regain his feet and parry former Coventry midfielder Cobi Jones' effort away for a corner.Jones beat Ben Haim for pace just three minutes later, and sent in a brilliant, teasing cross between Carvalho and Terry. The ball fell to the well-timed run of Martino, who despite having a brilliant position just six yards out, took his eye off the ball and headed wide with Cech wrong-footed.Didier Drogba berated Salomon Kalou for not squaring the ball when the young striker had rounded the 'keeper and slotted wide, although he surely would have congratulated his compatriot should he have scored. Such is the way of football.Malouda was beginning to look more comfortable with his deeper role, and teasing Roberts down the Chelsea left. His understanding with make-shift left-back Ben Haim seemed to be great as he played the ball to run of the Chelsea defender, and turned Roberts twice before his cross into the area lacked any real target to aim for, despite Drogba trying to throw himself after a lost cause.Ben Haim was involved in another glorious chance on the thirty minute mark. Receiving the ball from the run of Carvalho, he played it back into the path of the big defender, who fired into the side netting from a fairly acute angle.John Terry headed well over from a corner, which had been won when Kalou's shot was blocked by Joe Cannon; the veteran keeper beating the ball away to safety.Donovan's 39th minute free-kick caused the Chelsea defence some problems, as the flicked header by Abel Xavier was fantastically saved by Petr Cech. The ball seemingly headed for the top corner, Cech launched himself to his left, using every muscle in his six feet, 5 inch frame to punch the ball behind.With the 4-4-2 apparently not working against the similar formation of the Galaxy side, Mourinho elected to return to his favoured 4-3-3. Malouda and Essien dropped into the left and right back positions respectively, as Mikel and Joe Cole replaced Ben Haim and the fairly ineffective Ferreira.Up front, Shevchenko joined the three-pronged attack, playing in a central position, with Kalou on the right flank and Didier Drogba moving to the left.Cole's arrival brought instant success, as his shot was deflected through to Terry, who reacted and hit the ball with his weaker foot instinctively to the left of the diving Cannon. Rebounding off the post, the ball nestled in the corner of the net as Terry wheeled away.Just 48 seconds later, Salomon Kalou did well to connect with a Drogba cross from the far left, but despite his excellent leap and contact with the ball, he could not direct it and the ball found its way into the grateful hands of the goalkeeper.Cannon's opposite number Cech had been replaced at half-time by Carlo Cudicini, who had not yet touched the ball.It should have been 2-0 in the 54th minute, but for a poor refereeing decision. Malouda and Shevchenko played a fantastic one-two as the Ukrainian burst into the area. Pulling the ball back to the waiting Drogba, the Ivorian slid the ball into the empty net, only to have his celebrations cancelled by an offside flag. Surely the ball must be played forward to be in an offside position, or else surely the deliverer would have been offside as well?By the time it had passed the hour mark, the tempo of the game had dropped dramatically.Drogba and Donovan both had headed chances. Drogba could do nothing to prevent Malouda's pacey cross from going over, but Donovan, left unmarked in the Chelsea area, nodded over from five years out with Carlo Cudicini a spectator. The second time the Blues were let off.And finally, after 75 minutes, David Beckham joined the action, as the screams of the 27,000-strong crowd turned to deafening roars. However those expecting Beckham to produce two goals with an injured ankle were to have their bubbles popped - the midfielder looked completely ineffective and a crunching tackle from Sidwell, who replaced Lampard, left the player on the ground.Beckham looked to slot in Donovan, but Cudicini was first to the ball. Chelsea played keep-ball for the last ten minutes, as the drained Galaxy players seemed resigned to defeat.Another win in pre-season. With Mexico, Korea and America conquered, bring on the Dutch!Squads and RatingsChelsea (4-4-2): Cech (Cudicini 45); Ferreira (Mikel Obi 45), Carvalho, Terry ©, Ben-Haim (J Cole 45); Wright-Phillips (Shevchenko 45), Essien, Lampard (Sidwell 73), Malouda (Johnson 73); Drogba (Hutchinson 88), Kalou (Makelele 60).Goal Terry 48LA Galaxy (4-4-2): Cannon; Roberts, Xavier, Harden, Jazik; Jones (Kirk 55), Gray, Donovan ©, Martino (Glinton 71); Pavon (Vagenas 60), Gordon (Beckham 77).Chelsea RatingsCech - 6 - Uncharacteristically flapped at a cross, but made two excellent saves.Cudicini - 6 - Convincing when called into action.Ferreira - 6 - Started well, but seemed to tail off.Terry - 8 - Another goal for the Chelsea skipper, who is near his best.Ben Haim - 6 - Made some strong runs, but was beaten by Jones for pace.Carvalho - 7 - Made some excellent attacking runs and had an opportunity to score.Hutchinson - 6 - Came on for a short time, settled instantly and looked confident on the ball.Johnson - 6 - Very quiet when he came on, but had nothing to do.Lampard - 5 - Lacking performance by Frank.Makelele - 7 - Brilliant display by Chelsea's captain for the second half.Sidwell - 5 - Barely touched the ball, little impact.Wright-Phillips - 6 - His touch let him down.Essien - 7 - Strong display yet again, although shaky in periodsMikel - 7 - Very strong display, unlucky not to score.Shevchenko - 7 - Tried his hardest yet again - all we can ask for.Joe Cole - 6 - Quiet, needs to regain match fitness.Malouda - 7 - Was very effective and utilised in multiple positions.Drogba - 7 - Did everything but score, strong game.Kalou - 7 - His orange boots teased defenders. Referee - 2/10Chelsea - Stats - Los Angeles Galaxy1 - Goals - 0 6 - Shots on Target - 36 - Shots off Target - 42 - Blocked Shots - 1 5 - Corners - 221 - Fouls - 182 - Offsides - 10 - Yellow Cards - 0 0 - Red Cards - 0 52% - Possession - 48% Star ManJohn%20Terry.jpgJohn TerryViews of the Blues
The game provided another excellent work out for the team, and it was brilliant to see us pass the ball with some conviction. We've played three very different teams, but none of them are great times. Our biggest tests lie in the fixtures at Rangers and Feyenoord. Bring it on.

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