Desert Diamond Cup soccer
Galaxy bests Revolution in scoreless match
Championship game goes to tie-breaker; RSL edges out New York in early match
The LA Galaxy ended their first Desert Diamond Cup in triumph with a penalty kick victory against the New England Revolution, as 10,172 soccer fans crowded Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium to see the scoreless draw.
The scoreline wasn't for lack of trying on both sides. Seemingly easy shots would go wide or sail fruitlessly above the crossbar. It got to the point when the stadium announcer took to the mike late in the game to lead the crowd in a "we need a goal" chant.
The Galaxy's line-up featured many reservists; their starters were being rested in anticipation of next week's CONCACAF Champions League match against Toronto FC. The Revolution, on the other hand, played many of their starters with forward Brett Brettschneider the only one who isn't anticipated to be a first-team player.
Even with their experience advantage, New England was unable to continue its winning ways. The match ended in a way familiar to long-time watchers of both the Revolution and the Galaxy: a cup final with a draw at the close of regular time.
The teams quickly set up for a penalty kick decider. Los Angeles's Paolo Cardozo hit the back of the net, finally giving the stadium announcer a reason to scream "¡GOOOOOL!" into the microphone.
Los Angeles goalkeeper Brian Perk saved Ryan Guy's shot. It was the first of two shots that Perk was able to save, the other being Benny Feilhaber's.
The final penalty kick came from Marcelo Sarvas, who shot the ball past Matt Reis to secure the win for the Galaxy.
Defending penalty kicks
A penalty kick can be thought of as soccer's equivalent of a basketball free throw: a reasonably decent player should be able to score one far more often than not. They are also difficult for a goalkeeper to defend against. The rules force a keeper to be planted on the goal line so they have to anticipate where the ball is going before the shot is taken.
There is a difference in psychology between defending against a penalty kick during a game and defending against one during one of these "shootouts," said LA's Brian Perk after the match.
"As soon as you get in that situation, it's one of the best times as a goalkeeper," he said. "It flips, as opposed to you being the goat if you make mistakes, here the pressure is off," he said.
"It's a little different when it's in a game because you only have one shot at it. It changes the mindset a little bit," Perk said, pointing out that kick-takers will often shoot for corners during a match. They will act differently during a tie-breaker, and even change as the tie-breaker continues.
"In a PK shootout, they are a little more free because it's zero-zero, even. As it goes on, people get a little tighter, a little tighter and that narrows the window that they're willing to put it in," he said.
"So, the way you do shoot-outs is for the first couple you can take a little more risk. You wait and react a little bit," he said. "That's generally how it's done."
Claret, Cobalt and Bronze
In the earlier third-place match, Real Salt Lake defeated the New York Red Bulls 1-0.
The lone goal was scored by Chris Wingert, who later had to leave the match due to an eye injury.
RSL's defense was helmed by goalkeeper Nick Rimando, who is back to the team after traveling to Genoa with the U.S. national team earlier this week. Also impressive was Chris Schuler, who paired up with veteran and fellow central defender Jamison Olave to frustrate New York's attack throughout the match.
It was the only chance local fans got to see New York's Rafael Márquez, who came in for the second half. It also will be the only chance for fans to see him at all for a few weeks. He will be sitting out the first few Red Bulls matches due to a suspension stemming from a brawl during last year's playoffs.