The game wasn't even halfway through when I saw fans on Twitter talking about how this friendly was meaningless, but I disagree. Sure, the match had no effect on the Galaxy's standing in the Western Conference, nor did it result in any of their players getting injured. However, it's embarrassing to watch Major League Soccer's defending champions get smashed on their home pitch by a team still in its preseason.
I know that some fans will argue that it's not embarrassing to lose a match to a world power such as Real Madrid. Yet this game and other recent midsummer friendlies have proven that the gap between Major League Soccer and Europe is still as large as the ocean that divides them.
There have been some interesting victories by MLS teams in recent years, including the Columbus Crew's upset over Stoke City on July 24, but as a whole, North America's best teams can't hang with Europe's best.
While hosting European clubs for friendlies certainly does more to raise MLS's profile both in the United States and overseas, I have to wonder if these games are hurting the league as much as they are helping it. Think about it: what did the Galaxy gain by getting crushed at home in front of a record crowd? American fans were treated to some beautiful soccer from Real Madrid, but they also watched the defending MLS champs get destroyed. What benefits did the league or the sport in this country receive from this match? The rest of the world laughs at MLS when these kinds of results occur.
I think the league should try to change the format of the WFC. If MLS wants to gain more exposure without the embarrassing losses, then it should seek to schedule league matches as doubleheaders with the exhibitions.
For example, have the Galaxy play the Seattle Sounders, followed by a WFC matchup between Real Madrid and another European club. Make the doubleheader a huge event where supporters from all of the teams can party at the stadium. It would ensure that MLS fans get to see the touring clubs without watching their teams get mauled. The league has already managed to schedule some doubleheaders, but I'd like to see more of them. They are an excellent way to advertise the sport in this country.
I understand that many fans want to see MLS teams face off against Europe's best, and I'm not completely against that happening on a limited basis. I'm simply tired of watching our teams get run off the field in front of their home crowds. The league needs to find a better way to use the summer preseason tours to its advantage, and scheduling MLS league matches together with friendlies between European powers might be an answer to the problem.
Derek Ciapala has supported the Los Angeles Galaxy since the team began play in 1996. You can follow him on Twitter @dciapala.