La Liga giants Real Madrid defeated the Philadelphia 2-1 in front of 57,000+ fans at Lincoln Financial Field as part of the Herbalife Word Football Challenge. The win means that Real conclude their US trip with a perfect 3-0 record.
It took Madrid less than two minutes to score their first goal when Xabi Alonso played a long ball deep into the Union half that right back Sheanon Williams misplayed, allowing José María Callejón to collect it and fire past keep Faryd Mondragon.
Less than 10 minutes later Mesut Özil took a feed from Karim Benzema, split the Union defense and put Real up 2-0 with a smart finish. It certainly appeared that the rout was on and the pro Real crowd in Philly was enjoying it. However, a combination of the Union and the extreme heat started to wear Real down and they would not find the net again for the rest of the evening. The Union, however, would.
After creating the majority of the chances in the second half, the Union got on the board In the 80th minute when rookie Michael Farfan put a brilliant chip shot from outside the box when he spotted Real goalie Tomas Mejías off his line to trim the lead to one. Philly would push hard for an equalizer late with both Roger Torres and Jack McInerney having good chances in stoppage time, but failing to convert.
It was an inspired fightback for the Union however and they certainly can take pride in giving one of the greatest teams in the world all they could handle for a half. For Madrid, who are in preseason training, a 3-0 record in front of big crowds in America isn’t too bad either.
The big winner tonight could certainly be seen as the city of Philadelphia and specifically Lincoln Financial Field, which is quickly becoming a regular host for major soccer events. A near packed house watched the US men’s national team in their final farewell match before the World Cup. Manchester United filled the arena last year, Real drew 57,312 fans tonight and it was announced earlier this month that the US men would face Mexico in a friendly later this year that is also sure to draw big crowds.
With a home team that sells out every game, the national team stopping by on a regular basis and the biggest teams in the world popping in every year… Don’t look now but it seems as though Philly is a soccer city.