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Galaxy dreadful in Hawaii opener
by Paul Kennedy, February 21st, 2008 6:45AM



[PAN-PACIFIC CHAMPIONSHIP] There wasn't much "sexy soccer" so dear to Ruud Gullit to be found on display from the Los Angeles Galaxy on Day 1 of the Pan-Pacific Championship at Honolulu's Aloha Stadium.

Indeed, the new collection of Galaxy players supporting David Beckham -- who went the entire 90 minutes -- looked quite dreadful in a 1-0 loss to undermanned Japanese club Gamba Osaka.

By comparison, the MLS champion Houston Dynamo was in mid-season form, putting three goals past Australia's Sydney FC in the first half of the nightcap and coasting to a 3-0 victory.

The doubleheader drew only 15,128 fans at 55,000-seat Aloha Stadium.

The Galaxy defense held firm for all of three minutes before Brazilian striker Bare broke through and beat keeper Steve Cronin. Gamba controlled the first half and could have added to its lead with some better finishing.

"The first 15 minutes, we were terrible," said Beckham, "and they capitalized on the first breakthrough."

In the second half, during which Gullit made wholesale changes, the Galaxy shut down Gama attack but never looked comfortable on Aloha Stadium's artificial surface. In particular, Los Angeles's work in the opposing penalty area was pitiful.

Beckham, who was involved in an exchange with Gamba's Lucas, had little to show for his efforts over 90 minutes.

"We made some mistakes," said Gullit, "but it is valuable to spend this kind of time with the players."

The Dynamo easily disposed of Sydney FC with first-half goals from Dwayne De Rosario, Stuart Holden and Chris Wondolowski.

Houston will meet Gamba Osaka in the Pan-Pacific Championship final on Saturday. The Galaxy will face Sydney FC in the third-place game.


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