Real Madrid 3 - 2 Club America; Cristiano Ronaldo Shines As Los Galacticos Win At Candlestick Park
It was winter in August at San Francisco's Candlestick Park where thousands gathered and witnessed Real Madrid fleece Club America 3 - deuce in a pre-season friendly.
The crowd was electric with Vuvuzela's galore as thousand proudly sported the colors of their club and, friend of foe, erupted even further in cheers and Vuvuzela-ness when Cristiano Ronaldo hit the center stage.
Man, those things are really annoying.
The Portuguese international dumped his number nine and revert to lucky number seven. Seven had been previously owned by Madrid legend, Raul, but following his departure, Ronaldo jumped on the open slot. Benzema now filled the shoes of numero nine.
Ronaldo opened up the excitement with an early scoring opportunity in the 9th minute. The ball juked and jived, bobbed and weaved, and puzzled Mexican international keeper Guillermo Ochoa, but fortunately for him, it came right to him.
Madrid continued to press on and in the 34th minute they scored the opening goal. It was a genius of a play that began with forward Karim Benzema stalking the left flank and executed the give and go with Ronaldo. Benzema got the pass-back just outside the six and crossed it to new Galactico Sergio Canales who scored on his Madrid debut.
In the second, Madrid boss Jose Mourinho called an audible changing tactics to a 4-5-1 formation and attempted to conserve the lead, but so too did America come into the second with a different game plan.
It was a complete role reversal, Madrid was stumbling, fumbling, and mumbling all over the pitch while Las Aguilas imposed their wills.
53 minutes deep into the match America got the equalizer when Enrique Esqueda charge the left corner of the box and went far post and in.
Eight minutes later, Vicente Sanchez (formally of Schalke) got the go-ahead goal. The attack was in the center, but Sanchez waited patiently like a stalking puma and received the outlet for the put away.
Unfortunately for the Mexicans, the lead did not last long.
Los Blancos answered back in minute 63 when Ronaldo connected with Gonzalo Higuain who put the game back at even grounds.
In the 82 minute Ronaldo was fouled just outside the penalty box and granted the freekick. The man of the match stepped up to the plate and blasted it through a weak and ducking wall and in for the lead.
That was all she wrote, Real Madrid won the match with Ronaldo's free kick.
However, the more surprising aspect of the match was the communication and bravado of Los Blancos. Ronaldo, Benzema, Marcelo, and Higuain were in top form.
Ronaldo was running circles on the America midfielders while Marcelo kept charging on every attack.
No one should have been more happy with the match than Mourinho. His side dominated -- which is good considering defending La Liga Champs Barcelona are their main opposition. And two: the Spanish side showed a point of vulnerability when they changed tactics and allowed two goal. better now than later in the season; the boss now know what NOT to do in the future.
Madrid fly down to LA and take on the Galaxy on Saturday to end their American pre-season tour.