Manchester City Coach Roberto Mancini, left, and Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena… (Kevork Djansezian / Getty…)
After Manchester United's 7-0 rout of the Seattle Sounders in an exhibition game Wednesday night in Seattle, perhaps expectations should be lowered for the Galaxy's match against Manchester City on Sunday. Then again, perhaps they should have been lowered before the European clubs came stateside.
"Teams come over here and look for fitness and they want to win these games," Galaxy midfielder David Beckham said. "And that's what they do. That's what their managers expect of them."
Going into Saturday, the two Manchesters, along with Real Madrid, had trounced MLS squads four times in the past few weeks by a combined score of 17-3, including Real Madrid's 4-1 win over the Galaxy on July 16. The exhibitions include a few variations from usual match rules — most notably the use of 22 players instead of the usual 14.
"It's worse when an elite club can play more players," Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena said upon learning of the Sounders' score Wednesday. "If you tell those guys they only have to play 45 minutes, it's 45 minutes of hell. The advantage is to these clubs when they get to play more players, because they obviously have better players, deeper players, more quality."
To be clear, Arena does not think his squad, nor any of the MLS teams, would do remarkably better against the European powers under normal conditions.
"The results haven't been good, no question about that," he said Thursday. "It's a difficult competition to gauge some of the results. I do believe if we played Real Madrid 10 times, they'd probably beat us 11.
"We've brought some of the great club teams in the world to the United States to play MLS club teams and others. It's to show these great teams and players."
Manchester City will not be pulling any punches at the Home Depot Center. After heavy rains created a less-than-ideal playing surface for its 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps on Monday in Canada, Roberto Mancini's squad is looking to close its trip to North America with a strong performance.
"The last game is what we've been looking forward to against the Galaxy," Manchester City midfielder Gareth Barry said. "They're a big team out here with some big players. A perfect send-off for us before we start our season.
Mancini said his starters will "probably" play 90 minutes, while Arena expects to cap his starters' time at 45 minutes.