CARSON Calif. — It seemed like a typical Saturday night at Dignity Health Sports Park, but something was missing.
Wrexham AFC was in town to play Galaxy II, the LA Galaxy’s MLS Next Pro affiliate team, for an international friendly with many ties to Los Angeles, particularly Hollywood.
Wrexham AFC routed the LA Galaxy II 4-0 Saturday night, scoring all four goals within a 20 minute span to start the second half, so the goals weren’t missing, at least for the visitors.
Wrexham, the oldest soccer club in Wales and the third oldest professional soccer club in the world, was purchased by actors Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds in 2020. Their ownership journey of Wrexham has been showcased in the FX docuseries “Welcome to Wrexham.”
Despite the game being held in Los Angeles, both of the owners with Hollywood connections were missing Saturday night. And while this friendly was hyped up to be an international spectacle, with an official attendance of 10,533 the crowd felt like it was missing too.
Despite the low turnout, Wrexham AFC head coach Phil Parkinson was pleased with the fanfare around the club the states.
“It’s fantastic to be here,” Parkinson said. “When I spoke to people like tonight, it’s that knowledge of our players and asking me about individual games and people have been really engaged in it which is amazing, really, for the American public to be interested in it.”
Despite the result, LA Galaxy II head coach Marcelo Sarvas thought the glass was half full.
“There are a lot of positives I think, for the players, the feeling of being a professional player for a day on a big stage and with fans, playing a game that a lot of people talking about,” Marcelo said. “I think we did a we had a very good first half.”
Wrexham won the National League title and clinched promotion to League Two, the fourth-tier of the English Football League in April.
The promotion to League Two marked the first time Wrexham reached the fourth-tier of the EFL since 2007-08.
Marcelo said playing against a team of Wrexham’s stature is beneficial for his team, which normally plays other MLS academy squads.
“When you play against men like this, with the speed of pressing, you have to be on top of your game to move the ball around and we did really well,” Marcelo said.
Wrexham was the aggressor from the beginning and while the Galaxy II held its own in the first half, Wrexham’s Elliot Lee had a crafty finish that was disallowed after he was ruled offside. Parkinson was impressed by the performance of the Galaxy’s academy players.
“The Galaxy youngsters did well. I also think they caught us by surprise. The technical ability was excellent,” Parkinson said. “It gives us a bit of a wake up call to fix stuff even though we had a goal which probably should have stood, we gotta give the LA Galaxy team a lot of credit.”
The two teams entered the locker room scoreless at the break, but the visitors didn’t take too long to get situated in the second half. Andy Cannon scored the first goal for Wrexham in the second half and the flood gates opened from there.
In the next 20 minutes, Elliot Lee, captain Paul Mullin and Anthony Forde would each add a goal to balloon the lead to four by the 70th.
When asked if he would like to come back to LA to face the first team, Parkinson did not hesitate to give a response.
“Yeah, we’d love to come play the first team and test ourselves against them.”