Two of soccer's best teams went at it,
keeping it close until the final minutes. In the end, Real Madrid was
just a little better than Chivas Guadalajara.
Jose Maria Gutierrez got the tiebreaking goal in the 88th minute and
Roberto Soldado added a score during injury time to lead nine-time
European club champion Real to a 3-1 victory before 54,432 at Soldier
Field on Saturday night.
Gutierrez took a header from Roberto Soldado and scored from about 20
yards out to break a 1-1 tie. Later, Raul Bravo passed upfield to
Soldado who sent a shot into the left side just before the final horn
``Chivas played very strong today,'' Real midfielder Thomas Gravesen
said. ``They were technically strong. In the end, I think they ran out
The match was Real's first on a world exhibition tour that includes a
match against MLS' Los Angeles Galaxy at Carson, Calif., on Monday. Real
will then head to Beijing, Tokyo and Bangkok.
Chivas, a 10-time Mexican division champion, scored the game's first
goal when Francisco Palencia converted Jhonny Garcia's centering pass
from the corner in the 73rd minute.
David Beckham lofted a free kick over four defenders to Alvaro Mejia for
a header that tied it in the 78th minute.
Both teams missed chances earlier in the game. Real's Michael Owen hit
the crossbar in the 43rd minute, and Chivas' Juan Pablo Alfaro missed
from 15 yards out in the 58th.
Palencia's header from close range in the 70th minute sailed to the left,
and Real goalie Iker Casillas stopped a rushing Rafael Medina one minute
Real isn't exactly in midseason shape. The team had five practices
before this match, and it hasn't won a championship in two years.
``To go two years without winning anything is a big drought for Real
Madrid,'' Beckham said.
This was a good start for Real.
``Just what we needed,'' Beckham said.
Now, the attention turns to Los Angeles, where Beckham finds himself in
the center of a subplot. He has expressed an interest in playing Major
League Soccer at some point -- specifically for the Galaxy.
After Saturday's game, Beckham made it clear he's happy with Real ...
and, yes, he is open to the idea of playing in the U.S. some time down
``I had that three weeks ago,'' Beckham said about a possible wave of
questions. ``I had a lot of questions about when I was going to come
over, if I was going to come over and play. I said I'm happy with Real
Madrid at the moment. I've got a few years left on my contract, but you
can never tell what's going to happen in the future. And MLS does
interest me a lot.''
For now, he and his teammates are doing their part to raise interest in
the sport. That's what this tour is about, they said -- promoting soccer
while preparing for the season.
``Soccer is a game that has caught the imagination of a lot of
youngsters,'' Owen said. ``The World Cup helped. the next stage is to
have a really, really competitive league (in the U.S.) that can compete
with European and South American teams.''