July 24 : Citie at the Galaxy

Everything went smoothly. Today was the day that things could have gone wrong. A delayed flight would have resulted me missing the match, but thankfully the weather gods were kind and the thunderstorms had eased resulting in a peaceful flight back from Chicago to what is fast becoming my second home – LA.

Paying more for Alamo Car Rentals I knew I would get my car quicker today. Too many times I have been in a que for two hours waiting to pick up a car at the ever busy LAX Airport. Pre-planning is vital.

Bang on schedule I paid my $30 as I entered the LA Galaxy parking lot – nearly £20 – only in America do the media pay for parking and as I have mentioned at soccerball it’s so much cheaper than baseball.

Within seconds I met up with Bryan Swanson from Sky Sports News and his cameraman Alex who lives down the road from me. Alex had been on tour with Man City and it was great to see him.

© FACEBOOK

– if its good enough for Her Majesty’s press back home to download Victoria Beckham’s facebook pictures then its good enough for me to publish Alex with the LA Galaxy mascot Cozmo.

Within seconds the Man City press officer said hello. It was great to be in familiar company.

Chilled out stewards, bright sunshine, too many people to talk to – sorry Jason and David, nothing personal we should have gone out after the game – I was soon pitchside chatting to Brian Kidd about California, City’s tour and what I had been up to. Not that I would have expected have spoken to Sir Alex but yesterday seemed so far away.

© AMA SPORTS PHOTO AGENCY

Man City wore a new kit. Apparently the fans don’t like it. The sun was harsh and high in the sky. Superb for sunbathing, terrible for doing stock photography.

Balotelli got his name on the scoresheet with a penalty. It was already looking like a FA Cup tie between a Premier League and a lower league club and there was only going to be one winner.

In fairness – total fairness – Balotelli had the ball and was flagged offside. All he did was showboat, did an about turn and attempted to back heel the ball into the back of the net but missed!

Dutch Nigel went crazy. As did Mancini taking him off which resulted in a blazing row on the touchline. If I had of had BBC Radio Five Live in my ear I would have been even more switched on but going through the motions and working on auto pilot I simply snapped the goings on.

DAILY MIRROR

Bit of a news story? I was aware of the deadlines back home and loaded up my pictures into my computer with the ever lovely Glaswegian TV presenter Ross King chatting to me about Glasgow, Partik Thistle and my team Clyde.

The match was already getting dull. I got up and ran to the photo room as wiring out pitchside was not happening. Smiling stewards knowing I was going to send pictures opened doors and offered me drinks, such another contrast to yesterday.

I sent four pictures in less than one minute and returned to continue shooting the first half.

THE GUARDIAN

Back home I would not have had a picture published as EVERYONE would have got a picture of this. Only myself and my colleague from The Sun knew what was going on leaving the American sports shooters blissfully unaware of the goings on.

Yet again, I want to state that I don’t know how to shoot baseball but even after seeing the front page of the Chicago Tribune showing a picture of Rooney, if one of my photographers had of even edited this and sent it out as a live picture and thus it be syndicated to clients a black eye and harsh words would have ensued.

I stayed doing Galaxy attack for 2 minutes bagging some pictures of Joe Hart before legging it up the stands to do a picture of the stadium. It was my lucky day – Galaxy scoring an equaliser as I was up there.

© AMA SPORTS PHOTO AGENCY

The second half kind of passed me by. Boring, slow paced, City were no United.

© AMA SPORTS PHOTO AGENCY

Beckham had disappeared with his family and was obviously on his way to New York for the MLS Allstars game v Manchester United this coming Wednesday.

The end of the game signalled a penalty shoot out.

The Shropshire connection continued as Joe Hart saved lots of penalties and then scored the winner himself. It was one of those shoot outs that went on for ages, well past the regulation 5 shots each.

© AMA SPORTS PHOTO AGENCY

A good day at the office for publications but I’d only rate my performance as 4 out of 10. The light was bad and the game was hard work. I should have hooked up with Ross King again, perhaps he could have got me a hot date with Cat Deeley.  I checked into my favorite LA hotel and fed up with US TV watch a movie called Unknown drinking water as though it was going out of fashion. I get so dehydrated when flying these days.

The next day I just slept and slept. I should have gone and met fellow English photographer Jason who lives and works here. I regretted not going and seeing my mate Margarita in Ventura again but apart from going to LAX to sort out some bag issues, I had a lazy day. My first one for well over two weeks. I left LA in the evening on my slow but steady voyage back East to England – next stop Columbus.

Oh and for those photography nerds who insist on technical info – I think I shot the Balotelli picture at 1/1250 sec… DOES IT REALLY MATTER!?!?!?!???!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!

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