One of the glamour matches of the Herbalife World Football Challenge in North America and Canada will undoubtedly be City’s final game of the tournament against Los Angeles Galaxy on Sunday 24 July.
The high profile Major League Soccer outfit propelled to stardom in 2007 with the arrival of David Beckham in their ranks. They also have further Premier League experience in the form of former Aston Villa striker Juan Pablo Angel and previous Everton loan star Landon Donovan.
Galaxy have significantly boosted the profile of soccer Stateside, with many celebrities regularly attending games at the Home Depot Center. They have enjoyed triumphs that have seen them become the second most successful club in the league, after DC United.
The California state side were founded back in June 1994, making them one of MLS’ original clubs. However Los Angeles has been home to soccer since 1955 with clubs like the Kickers, Aztecs, Salsa and California Surf. Through their spells in the Western American Soccer League, the North American Soccer League and the American Soccer League/A-League, these teams have certainly enjoyed successes, winning numerous league championships, US Open Cups and regional championships. George Best enjoyed two years with the Aztecs in the mid-1970s, with Johan Cruyff spending 12 months there just a couple of years later.
The MLS league itself originated in 1993 as part of the United States’ bid to host the 1994 FIFA World Cup. Two years after the tournament was staged, Galaxy made their debut alongside nine other teams that included Colorado Rapids, New York Red Bulls, San Jose Earthquakes and the now defunct Tampa Bay Mutiny. The MLS is divided primarily into two based on geography: the Eastern and Western conference- and the Galaxy finished top of the latter at the end of their first season.
The side has since become one of the most prestigious teams in the MLS, winning the CONCACAF Champions’ Cup in 2000, the US Open Cup in both 2001 and 2005, the MLS Cup in 2002 and 2005 and the MLS Supporters’ Shield champions in 1998, 2002 and 2010. Head Coach Bruce Arena replaced Cobi Jones in 2008, after the great Dutch midfielder Ruud Gullit had managed the Galaxy in 2007/08.
Galaxy has three main supporters’ clubs: The Angel City Brigade, the LA Riot Squad and the Galaxians. The Riot Squad were established in 2001 and promote themselves as an ‘anti-supporters’ group’, a multi-ethnic crowd of soccer fanatics that offer a more intense and festive atmosphere during the 90 minutes. The City Brigade was formed in 2007, with the aim to stand proudly and sing their hearts out throughout each game at the Home Depot Centre. The Galaxians are the original supporters group and predate the others, having been formed in 1996, and are led by their president Carlisa Perdomo.
When the game was confirmed between City and the Galaxy, the California side’s President, Tom Payne, expressed his delight at facing the Blues.
“We are very excited to welcome Manchester City,” Payne confirmed. “They are a team that has just won the FA Cup and that has just secured a spot in next season’s UEFA Champions League. We are all very excited.”