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The famed California stadium, site of the 1994 World Cup final, hosts FC Barcelona and the Los Angeles Galaxy.

At four o'clock in Southern California, FC Barcelona jerseys had invaded Pasadena, the city just north of Los Angeles. Hundreds of people wearing Barca jerseys walked around the downtown shopping area known as Old Town, though nothing there really looked very old at all.

Numerous cars were already parked at the Rose Bowl, as early arrivals set up picnics and children ran around kicking soccer balls.

The famous roses planted all around the edge of the stadium were rather wilty looking in the summer heat, but a cool breeze kept things pleasant for the people standing in line to enter.

Lionel Messi jerseys were by far the most popular. Andres Iniesta and Xavi had their adherants as well.

Since the Rose Bowl is the former home stadium of the Los Angeles Galaxy, quite a few Galaxy fans have shown up in jerseys of the pre-Beckham era, with the old swirling gold logo. Though Cobi Jones is now retired and an assistant coach, his jersey appears the most often.

For the most part, though, the support in the crowd of over 90,000  looked to be for Barcelona.

Yet as the Galaxy ran out for warm-ups, they were cheered warmly by some and simply ignored by the rest.

No signs against Beckham appeared in any of the Galaxy fan sections, so their protest against his AC Milan loan may have died down.

The roar when the Barcelona players emerged was a wave of sound that seemed to put the lie to the sign posted that read, "Home of the LA Galaxy".

So many flashbulbs popped for pictures that the stands turned into twinkling Christmas lights as the early evening settled in.

The fans chanted for Messi, and he returned their adulation with a shy smile. Barcelona's bright neon training gear moved easily around the field as the players ran comfortably through a well-honed warmup routine.

The stadium lights came on for the match, as sunset bathed the nearby mountains in a soft glow.

The Rose Bowl was ready, the fans were set, the players had their game faces on. All that was left was the kickoff.

Goal.com



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