. . . all the build-up to the friendly in Milwaukee
The Swans were cruelly denied victory in their opening pre-season fixture as Mexican side Chivas Guadalajara struck a last-gasp penalty.
Garry Monk’s side had looked to be on course for a 1-0 win courtesy of Nathan Dyer’s 57th-minute strike, which was the first goal to be scored in what was the first football game to be staged at Miller Park – home of the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team.
But American referee Andres Pfefferkorn dismissed Neil Taylor and Chivas’ Jesus Sanchez with ten minutes to go after they squared up to each other following a challenge, and then awarded a controversial spot-kick with virtually the last action of the game.
Jazz Richards was harshly adjudged to have fouled an opposing player as a free-kick dropped into the box, and sub Giovani Hernandez stepped up to slot home past Gerhard Tremmel.
It was a harsh ending for the Swans, who deserved to come away with victory against the 11-time Mexican champions.
The Swans had put in a strong performance in front of a 31,000-strong crowd, with Monk making ten changes at the break in order to give his players game-time.
In the first half, Jonjo Shelvey struck the crossbar with a thunderous free-kick while Wayne Routledge saw his goal ruled out for offside.
After the break, Dyer’s goal edged the Swans ahead before Rory Donnelly’s back-post header was kept out.
Gerhard Tremmel made a superb save to swat away Omar Esparza’s top-corner bound effort, while Hernandez saw his curling free-kick bounce inches wide of the far post.
Taylor and Sanchez were then shown red before the dramatic penalty finale.
Despite being denied victory, Monk will have been pleased with the sharpness and fitness his players showed against a Chivas side that are an advanced stage of pre-season.
Next up for the Swans is a friendly with NASL side Minnesota United on Saturday.
The Swans were without the injured Jay Fulton, while Ashley Williams flew home earlier in the day due to family matters.
That meant Angel Rangel captained the Swans, who handed new signings Lukasz Fabianski, Stephen Kingsley and Bafetimbi Gomis starting roles.
CHIVAS: Antonio Rodriguez, Nestor Vidrio, Jair Pereira, Carlos Salcido, Gerardo Rodriguez, Fernando Arce, Israel Castro, David Toledo, Angel Reyna, Aldo De Nigris, Omar Bravo (c).
SUBS: Luis Ernesto Michel, Kristian Alvarez, Patricio Araujo, Omar Esparza, Sergio Napoles, Jorge Enriquez, Jesus Sanchez, Edgar Solis, Carlos Fierro, Alberto Garcia, Giovani Hernandez.
SWANS (first half): Lukasz Fabianski, Angel Rangel (capt), Kyle Bartley, Chico Flores, Stephen Kingsley, Jazz Richards, Jonjo Shelvey, Josh Sheehan, Wayne Routledge, Alex Bray, Bafetimbi Gomis.
SWANS (second half): Gerhard Tremmel, Dwight Tiendalli, Jordi Amat, Ben Davies, Neil Taylor, Leon Britton, Adam King, Josh Sheehan (Alex Bray, 72; Jazz Richards, 82), Nathan Dyer, Rory Donnelly, Marvin Emnes.
The Swans started brightly in the early exchanges, with Angel Rangel flicking on a cross inside the box only for Carlos Salcido to knock him off his feet. American referee Andres Pfefferkorn, however, rejected the penalty appeals.
Then, after six minutes, a well-worked move down the right saw Rangel thread through a pass for young Alex Bray, and when his perfect cross found Bafetimbi Gomis, the French striker's six-yard volley rose just over the crossbar.
Lukasz Fabianski was then called into action for the first time as Fernando Arce robbed possession off Jonjo Shelvey and the Chivas midfielder teed up Angel Reyna, but he was denied by the Polish keeper as he padded his effort wide for a corner.
Shortly after the Swans had the ball in the net, only for it to be ruled out for offside. Wayne Routledge latched onto a Shelvey through ball and chipped the onrushing Antonio Rodriguez before the flag was raised.
It was a thrilling start, and Fabianski dealt comfortably with a tame Aldo De Nigris shot from close range before Shelvey struck the crossbar from 20 yards with a thunderous free-kick following Jair Pereira's clumsy challenge on Gomis.
Chico Flores, booked moments before, was the next to probe as he met Shelvey's inswinging corner, but the Spaniard's header was easily collected by keeper Rodriguez.
The game started to get slightly niggly, and Israel Castro was shown a yellow card following an off-the-ball incident.
But the Swans kept their nerve, and a superb run and pass from Routledge sent in fellow winger Bray, but the onrushing Rodriguez raced off his line just in time to beat the youngster to the ball.
The Swans kept plugging away, and Rodriguez was called into action once again as he dived to his left to keep out a powerfully-struck Shelvey free-kick from 30 yards.
That was the end of the first-half action, and the Swans boss Garry Monk would have been delighted with his side's performance.
HALF-TIME: Chivas Guadalajara 0 Swans 0
Garry Monk made ten changes at the break, with Josh Sheehan the only survivor from the first half.
And it was one of the changes who made the breakthrough after 57 minutes.
Neil Taylor passed inside to Marvin Emnes, and when the Dutchman’s perfectly hit first-time pass on the turn found Nathan Dyer, he fired home via a slight deflection for the first ever goal scored at the stadium.
The Swans barely had time to celebrate as Chivas immediately went in search of an equaliser.
And the Mexicans almost found their equaliser, only to be denied by a superb saved from Gerhard Tremmel.
An outswinging corner was met by the head of Omar Esparza, and his effort was bound for the top corner before Tremmel dived to his right to pad it out.
Then Giovani Hernandez went within inches of beating the German keeper as his curling free-kick dropped into the box but just past the post.
At the other end, the Swans had a good chance of doubling their lead as Dyer’s pinpoint cross plucked out Rory Donnelly at the back post, but his header was diverted wide by the keeper.
Bray then replaced Sheehan for the remaining 18 minutes following a good display by the young midfielder.
Then, with ten minutes left, referee Pfefferkorn reduced each team to ten men after Neil Taylor and Jesus Sanchez squared up to each other following a foul by the latter.
The Swans were hoping to see out the remaining few minutes, but they were pegged back in the last few seconds.
Referee Pfefferkorn penalised Jazz Richards for an adjudged foul on an opposing player in the box, and sub Giovani Hernandez stepped up to slot home past Gerhard Tremmel.