February 16, 2013 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Los Angeles Galaxy
CARSON, Calif. - With each passing day, the LA Galaxy's season opener against the Chicago Fire on March 3 is approaching at a breakneck pace and on Saturday, LA continued their preseason preparation by facing a total unfamiliar opponent- K-League side Gangwon FC.
LA battled to a scoreless draw with organized and industrious Korean side who were much different than the direct and physical teams that the Galaxy will face in MLS and CONCACAF Champions League play. Throughout the 90 minutes, the Galaxy controlled possession for great stretches of the game, but the Koreans proved different to break down.
Although LA were unable to get on the scoreboard against the K-League side, the scrimmage proved to be a valuable exercise.
"They were pretty organized and really fit and I thought that they put good pressure on us," said LA defender Omar Gonzalez who went a full 90 minutes in the draw. "It's good to get competition from another country to test us in a different way and I thought we did well on the day to get the draw, but we had a couple chances to get goals and they had one chance. At the end of the day, it's not too bad."
From the outset, the match was a testy one that saw plenty of hard challenges and vocal play from both sides, but no converted chances. However, with both clubs nearing the start of their league slate - Gangwon open their league schedule on March 2 against Busan IPark- there was much to be gained.
"Any time that you play and see different things it helps. In our league, there is one style of play and it's not similar to the way that [Gangwon] plays at all," said Mike Magee. "But it definitely helps because there are going to be games where we're going to be chasing or on the road and that was definitely what we were doing."
The style and pace of the Koreans may have been quite the departure from what LA was used to, but it may come in handy, if LA reaches the Club World Cup by becoming the first MLS team to win the CCL.
"There we go," said Magee with a smile. "We'll save this tape for that one if we get there."
On Tuesday, LA will face yet another different style when they take on a reserve side from reigning LIGA MX champions Club Tijuana at The Home Depot Center.