Pasadena, United States: Luis Suarez and Sergi Roberto scored as European Champions Barcelona launched their pre-season North American tour with a convincing 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Galaxy on Tuesday.
Luis Suárez (2nd R) of FC Barcelona celebrates with teammates after scoring against the Los Angeles Galaxy during their International Champions Cup game at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California. Pic/AFP
Uruguay international Suarez came out on top in a clash with former Liverpool team-mate Steven Gerrard -- the Galaxy's latest acquisition from Europe. His 45th-minute strike and Roberto's 56th-minute goal ensured that even without such stars as Argentina's Lionel Messi and Brazilian Neymar -- let off the pre-season tour after Copa America duty -- Barcelona got the win their dominant performance deserved in front of 93,226 fans at Pasadena's Rose Bowl.
In their first pre-season friendly in prepration for their defence of their La Liga, Copa Del Rey and Champions League treble, Barcelona pressed relentlessly from the start and were finally rewarded in the 45th minute when Suarez fired a left-footed shot past Galaxy keeper Brian Rowe after Rafinha's deflected cross was moved on by Bartra and Galaxy defender Leonardo was unable to clear the danger.
Suarez had been off-target from the center of the area in the 11th and from long range in the 23rd, while Rowe made a diving save of Roberto's attempt from outside the box in the 35th. Both teams made wholesale changes at the break, with Suarez among the seven Barcelona players to depart and Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique entering the game.
Galaxy coach Bruce Arena made five halftime substitutions, with Gerrard and Keane among those departing. The changes didn't slow Barca, with Douglas going close in the 47th minute and Pique testing substitute Galaxy keeper Andrew Wolverton in the 53rd after a pass from Munir. Munir also helped set up Roberto's 56th-minute strike from the edge of the box -- which brought joyous cheers of "Barca! Barca!" from the crowd.
The minority of Galaxy fans in the stands, on a balmy night in the foothills northeast of Los Angeles, had little to cheer for much of the match, although Tommy Meyer grabbed a consolation goal in the first minute of injury time, heading in from close range. The Galaxy now head back into MLS action, visiting the Dynamo in Houston on Sunday as they continue their bid to defend their title.
Barcelona next travel up the coast to take on Manchester United on Saturday at Levi's Stadium, home of the NFL's San Francisco 49ers. They complete their US swing against English champions Chelsea on July 28 in suburban Washington DC before playing Fiorentina in Florence on August 2.