Heavy rainfall and a physical match threatened to undo the Generation adidas side in their friendly with the Rayo Vallecano reserves Tuesday, but a second-half goal from FC Dallas’ Peri Marosevic gave the MLSers a 1-0 win.
Marosevic powered home a header in the 51st minute, getting on the end of Dilly Duka’s corner kick after freeing himself from his marker. The FCD striker had been given the starting nod over New York’s Juan Agudelo.
WATCH: Match highlights
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But Marosevic’s strike was one of only of handful of chances for either team at the City of Fútbol. Standing water on the field limited the flow of either team, particularly for the first 45 minutes. Both sides were forced to move the ball through the air, leading to constant physical challenges in a match that saw a total of 40 fouls called over the 90 minutes.
Things initially heated up in the 19th minute, when a foul from Teal Bunbury resulted in a shoving match, seeing both Bunbury and Vallecano’s David receive cautions. In total, five cautions were handed out as well as a red card to the Houston Dynamo’s Danny Cruz in the 89th minute for dissent.
The best chance for the GA side in the first half came off a Baggio Husidic free kick from 30 yards out. The Chicago Fire midfielder’s low, hard drive forced a fingertip save from Rayo Vallecano’s goalkeeper Ismael.
As the rain subsided in the second 45, the GA side begun to show some quality passing sequences and movement, setting up the corner kick for that led to Marosevic’s decisive header.
“Dilly played a fantastic ball,” Marosevic told MLSsoccer.com after the game. “He put it right in the mix with pace. I was able to beat my defender somehow – I was surprised I was that open. I had a clear header and got enough behind it. The 'keeper couldn’t handle it.”
The insertion of Agudelo in the 63rd minute, in particular, proved to trouble the Vallecano defense, as the recently capped US international continually broke down their defense, causing numerous fouls.
The Spaniards threw numbers forward in the last 10 minutes, but the shutout held thanks to another standout performance from the defense. Brek Shea, who anchored the back line from the unfamiliar center back position, assumed a leadership role after San Jose’s Ike Opara was forced to leave the field in the 40th minute. Philadelphia’s Amobi Okugo replaced Opara.
Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson also had an outstanding game. He made four pivotal saves to keep the score at 0-0 in the first half, and later withstood Rayo’s pressure to preserve the clean sheet.
“The rain was so bad, I felt like we were playing in water polo match,” Marosevic said. “I felt like personally it was going to be decided on a set piece. The run of play was so tough. The puddles were so big, the ball would stop a foot in front of you.”
Despite all that, the MLSers got their second win in two matches of their Spanish tour.
Coach Schellas Hyndman’s team now has less than 24 hours to prepare for another tough test, against Atlético Madrid on Wednesday.
Rayo Vallecano: 1-Ismael, 2-Maxi, 3-Owusu (14-Jose Alcañiz 46’), 4-David, 5-Ivanov, 6-Addo (15-Tito 75’), 7-Leandro, 8-Nono, 9-Jano, 10-Rayko, 11-Jonah (12-Tirso 70’)
Subs not used: 15-Dani
Generation adidas: 1-Johnson, 26-Hall, 24-Opara (11-Duka 40’), 22-Shea, 13-Cruz, 33-Okugo, 21-Husidic, 23-McInerney (15-Wiedeman 62’), 16-Bone (18-Gil 75’), 8-Marosevic (20-Agudelo 63’), 25-Bunbury
Subs not used: 0-Frei
Shots on Goal: RV 4, GA 3
Saves: RV 2, GA 4
Fouls: RV 19, GA 23
Corners: RV 7, GA 5
Goals: Marosevic (Duka) 51’
Yellow Cards: McInerney (GA) 14’, Bunbury (GA) 19’, David (RV) 19’, Husidic (GA) 80’
Red Card: Cruz (GA) 89’
Referee: Nico Cardu
AR1: Mustafa Ibrahimi
AR2: Adenahim Afkir
This report was compiled with the assistance of Casey Armstrong.