Saunders, Bowen lead Galaxy past Boca Juniors

MichaelStephensBoca (MichaelJanoszISI)

Photo by Michael Stephens/



Another match, another shut out for the Los Angeles Galaxy.

A memorable performance by Josh Saunders and a late goal by Tristan Bowen were the difference on Sunday night as the Galaxy defeated Argentine giant Boca Juniors, 1-0, in front of 18,267 at the Home Depot Center.

The goal came in the 83rd minute when second half substitution Mike Magee played a fantastic ball to midfielder Michael Stephens, who dummied a Boca Juniors defender and delivered the ball back to Bowen. The Galaxy striker was able to smash the ball into the back of Boca goalkeeper Javier Garcia's net. For Bowen, who is expecting to see increased minutes with Edson Buddle away on international duty, the goal against such a legendary club was invaluable to his confidence. 

"Bruce (Arena) put a lot of trust in me and I'm getting a lot of information from the guys who have more experience and they are making my job a lot easier," said Bowen. "Everyone is getting more minutes and the guys who haven't played many minutes need step up and we did a great job."

Although the 19-year-old Bowen gave the Galaxy the win, the star on the night was back-up goalkeeper Josh Saunders who was omnipresent whenever Boca broke through the Galaxy back line. Making a total of 13 saves on the night, Saunders showed why he is often called upon to start matches against some of the World's elite clubs.

Throughout the match Boca Juniors provided constant action for Saunders as the Argentinean giants controlled possession. Time and time again however, the Galaxy goalkeeper provided highlight quality saves stopping any chance that came his way. His best save came in the 68th Minute when off a corner kick, Boca Juniors forward Lucas Viatri got passed the defense and headed a ball that forced a diving one handed save by Saunders.

"I faced a lot of stuff that was in front of me so I broke down the play and just reacted to it, I attribute my success to just good training habits because I face shots like that everyday," said Saunders. "It was a lot of fun actually, I walked off the field with a big smile on my face tonight, it was good for the fans and just an all around great time."

Although the Galaxy faced Boca Juniors on only two days rest after their victory at FC Dallas on Thursday, the match was critical for Galaxy reserves like Chris Klein and Eddie Lewis to get some time on the field as the club continues to deal without a host of players absent due to injury and international duty. One such reserve who saw significant time tonight was midfielder Clint Mathis, who earned 80 minutes against Boca Juniors. Following the match, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena admitted that although the match may have come at the wrong time, it was a valuable exercise for his men.

"For a number of guys it was good to get some minutes, but in all honesty this was a exhibition that we didn't need because we have a bunch of injuries and fatigue," said Arena. "To get through this without an injury is good and some guys needed the minutes so fair enough."

The Galaxy may have earned the result, but Boca was confident that they were the better side on the field. The ball control style of the South Americans was able to constantly break through the defense of the Galaxy as the South Americans spent a significant portion of the match camped in the Galaxy end. Although Josh Saunders made a total of 13 saves, Boca Juniors created many more chances finishing the match with a total of 24 shots.

"Our play was superior tonight as we created a lot of chances while they only had their one," said Boca Juniors goalkeeper Javier Garcia. "They didn't look to take control of the ball and did not pose a significant threat."

Los Angeles will now prepare for its biggest test of the year as the club travels to face the Eastern Conference leading Columbus Crew on Saturday at Crew Stadium. Boca Juniors continues its Pacific tour on Wednesday when the club takes on the Seattle Sounders before finishing their North American tour against U.S. Division 2 side Portland Timbers on Saturday.

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34 Responses to Saunders, Bowen lead Galaxy past Boca Juniors

  1. Jon E says:

    I think Garcia may need to check the score and then double-check the definition of “threat.”

  2. BetaMale says:

    nice to see MLS academy players making an impact. We’re headed in the right direction, just reflect how far we’ve come as a league in 15 short years!

    In another 15, all of the big Euro clubs will collapse financially (deficit spending, just like European and American governments), and the MLS will be king.

  3. Benny Dargle says:

    Boca had better possession, but showed themselves to be poor finishers. While Saunders made a few great saves, many of Boca’s shots were weak and non-threatening. They were especially bad at headers. The Galaxy essentially played 1 striker (Bowen) most of the night and were not playing for ball possession. Even so, they capitalized on their chances while Boca did not. That’s how they measure which team won the game, Mr. Garcia.

    Bowen’s play is very encouraging given the potential long-term absence of Buddle.

  4. Texar says:

    I remember watching the MLS for the first time on TV around ’98 or ’97. HOLY SH#T! The MLS has changed so much.

  5. Andrew says:

    I love the excuses whenever the big clubs lose to an MLS side. They are always there.

  6. Brian says:

    We’re probably gonna get rocked by Columbus on Saturday, but we’ll see them again in the MLS Cup

  7. Christof says:

    ..will collapse, except the Bundesliga…

  8. rancid punx says:

    Thanks for stickin it to us again LA! Now that Boca is good and pissed they’re gonna come up here Wednesday and hand us our asses 😉

  9. J says:

    Only 18,267?

  10. Josh D says:

    My thoughts exactly… These friendlies don’t seem to hit anywhere near the number of attendees of previous years…..

  11. Hood Rich says:

    Where was Riquelme? I know he didn’t make the World Cup team but he was not even in the lineup?

  12. JP says:

    I thought Arena was in Madrid? Did he catch the red eye back?

  13. A Guest says:

    Injured, I believe.

  14. Austin says:

    he didnt come…..

  15. GSScasual says:

    Where is Mr. “fan of league”, Simple Jack… i miss his critisicms of attendance, after all NYRB had more people for thier international friendly

  16. LukeInNC says:

    True….i believe Bayern had about 70% possession and more shots in the CL final.

  17. JohnC says:

    Bundesliga will never collapse, they are geniuses over there.

  18. Stpauljosh says:

    That’s why they were over here getting tips on the mls business model.

  19. patrick says:

    our economy is in shambles, and i dont know the prices for the LA game, but red bulls tix against juventus were basically double the price for the MLS games. No one is going to pay that, especially when the soccer community in that area had turkey Czech on saturday, Red bulls on Thursday and this game on sunday. Its called a saturated market.

  20. Dudeinho says:

    injured and has contract diputes probably going to leave boca. God i hope MLS signs him and sends him to LA

  21. BlueWhiteLion says:

    Boca were a real threat, especially in the second half. They are a talented team. However, Mr. Garcia, your own side proved to be all bark and no bite. “threat” + “no goals” = loser. I will take the non-threatening win any day. :)

    Boca really were a nice team, and the better team. But the Galaxy sure seemed to have played better in the first half. Boca only really dominated (in a losing proposition) in the 2nd.

  22. Dudeinho says:

    Wow people really complaining about attendance? these are decent sized crowds.

  23. patrick says:

    No, I’m sure they were in the FSC office in LA. ESPN used to do the same thing with champs leageus games. My colllege coach used to do the play by play from bristol

  24. wilyboy says:

    It is a proud day for MLS, as it saw two major clubs in the world defeated by two of the fold. This is how MLS will eventually get respect from the international community. Signing Henry will only help with a few Euro snobs in America.

  25. JeffM says:

    He should also watch the Champions League final and realize that they don’t give out trophies for ball possession.

  26. Tom P says:

    Boca was better on the the day on the day but:

    1. LA was missing it’s 3 best players

    2. The final score is all that counts.

  27. joe says:

    I wonder if this is similar to when MLB teams went to Japan and lost. The Americans were only there for a laugh and didn’t take it seriously. Did the Boca team spend their time training in a bar or has the MLS really improved?

  28. Colin says:

    I’m actually pretty sure they were in Madrid for the game. I remember Curt Menefee talking about how he’s used up all the space on his camera and the game hadn’t event started yet…

  29. Colin says:

    I think the Galaxy wanted to win and played that way, and Boca thought they’d win by showing up. Simple as that. Boca’s coach can talk about being the “superior” team, but there’s nothing superior about losing to a team missing 3 of its stars and having Clint Mathis be your offensive catalyst.

  30. Benny Dargle says:

    While one might have expected a better crowd anyway, this was a late addition to the tour. They literally only announced it a week before and I think they had 4 days to sell the tickets.

  31. Roig says:

    For teams like Boca winning is not all the counts. If they play like LA did and win all of their games their fans would still boo the hell out of them. There is certain expectations as far as entertaining football.

    I’m glad LA won. It means a lot more to them than it does to Boca. Lets just not get confused, LA is not nearly as good as Boca. If I had to put money on a meaningful game I’d go with Boca every time.

  32. gss casual says:

    what really is so good about boca, or argentina’s league for that matter, anyone with skill in that league goes to europe. ave you ever watched argentine matches? not that entertaining

  33. Roig says:

    I love the Argentinian league. After La Liga I don’t think there is another league that comes close. As far as entertaining, I like to watch games with players with plenty of technical skills. yes, Argentinian players move abroad, but before that they spend some quality time playing for their home clubs. Tevez, Di’ Maria, Aguero, Milito, Cambiasso….. All those players were good BEFORE they moved to Europe and they all played in the Argentinian league.

  34. Nacho says:

    I love all this. Boca was missing many of their best players as well. haha, love that excuse there bro.