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Galaxy, Aston Villa Play to 1-1 Tie

Soccer: Welton scores against English Premier League team as Hartman, Caligiuri make their debut.

May 22, 1997|MIKE PENNER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Big-time English soccer came to the Rose Bowl Wednesday night and, for the record, the Galaxy not only survived the assault but also emerged with a 1-1 tie with Aston Villa before an audience of 8,759.

Not that Galaxy Coach Lothar Osiander was hyperventilating or dancing behind the microphone in the interview room afterward, though.

"I'd hate to play Aston Villa when they're serious," Osiander said. "They're a couple of levels above us. . . . I'm glad we don't have to play them when they're playing for a championship or points in their league. Then it wouldn't be close."

For Aston Villa, one the top teams in the English Premier League, Wednesday's exhibition was the final leg of a weeklong holiday on the California coast that included outings to the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Las Vegas, Universal Studios . . . oh, and a couple 90-minute workouts against the San Jose Clash and Galaxy that were thrown in to justify the trip.

How to accurately measure the disparity between the teams at the Rose Bowl?

Osiander noted the $12 million Aston Villa spent last week to buy striker Stan Collymore from Liverpool to pair with the $5-million striker they already owned, Dwight Yorke.

"That's $17 million," Osiander said. "That's more than the entire [player] budget of our league."

Collymore, who joined Aston Villa after a Monday stopover with a few of the lads in Las Vegas, scored the equalizer in his debut with the club. The Galaxy led, 1-0, on a 59th minute goal by Welton, but Collymore tied the game by heading home an arching cross from Mark Draper in the 75th minute.

Aston Villa Coach Brian Little was pleased with this development, if not overly impressed.

"He'd be more happy about that than me," Little said. "And that will probably please our media back home . . .

"But on a tour like this, it's tough to go flat-out, all-out. I don't judge players in tour games, especially someone who I've just spent a lot of money to get and someone who just had a seven-day holiday with the guys."

Wednesday's game marked the Galaxy debut of defender Paul Caligiuri and former UCLA goalkeeper Kevin Hartman.

"He played well for the first half and then got tired," Osiander said of Caligiuri.

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