Youth Academy Update
As Bruce Arena's Los Angeles Galaxy continued their long break ahead of their June 17 match with the Portland Timbers, the youth academies were doing the business, wrapping up the regular season with SoCal Division crowns in U.S. Soccer Development Academy play.
The Under-16s head into the U.S. Soccer Development Academy playoffs on an 18-game unbeaten streak after shutting out Nomads SC 2-0. Chris Constantini opened the scoring just two minutes into the contest while Steve Martinez doubled the Young G's advantage in the 61st minute of play.
As for the Under-18s, they crushed Nomads to the tune of 5-0. Rolando Munoz opened the scoring in the 26th minute. Justin Dhillon added a brace in the 45th and 76th minutes. Other goalscorers for the U-18s include Jose Rivera and Pedro Lugo.
The Under-12s side also has some playoff action to attend to. On June 18, they will compete in the US Youth Far West Regionals in Phoenix, Ariz. The winner of that tournament will advance to the US Youth Soccer National Championships, scheduled for July 25-29 in Rock Hill, S.C.
Ease up on Leonardo
As for Arena, he breathed a sigh of relief when he found out that the injury to defender Leonardo was really just a slight knock and nothing worse.
“He was assessed as having a torn ACL at the scene,” Arena told Luis Bueno of MLSSoccer.com. "“I’m still waiting to make sure that [his knee is] OK.
“The guy has worked so hard. It’s unbelievable how hard he’s worked. He scores a goal in this game and comes off a few minutes later. We’re happy it appears to be nothing serious. Hopefully, he’ll be ready to go next week.”
Can the Reserves break through?
The LA Galaxy Reserves have been faring better than the first team after they defeated the Portland Timbers last Saturday, 2-1. A number of those players could be making the first team when they take on Portland's first XI on June 17.
“Every time you go out there and get a ‘W’ it’s something to build off of,” right back Bryan Jordan told LAGalaxy.com's Larry Morgan. “I think the whole team recognizes it.
“Any time you’re going through a difficult stretch, winning games is important. The fact we were up 2-0 and we were able to hold on to a lead, we’ve had cases this year where we’ve been up in first-team games and have given up leads, I think it gives us confidence.”
Currently, the Galaxy Reserves own a three-game unbeaten streak. Reserve team manager Curt Onalfo is aware of the importance of these contests.
“It keeps these guys in the mix,” Onalfo told Morgan. “It keeps them pushing them for first-team spots and it helps bring back players from injury.
"It serves a lot of purposes, it’s definitely a platform for players to perform and improve their standing.”
What, us worry?
The long break for the Los Angeles Galaxy has been a most welcome one, of all things. Sporting a 3-8-2 record, the Galaxy have had a lot of time to think about what went wrong. Defender A.J. DeLaGarza is fully aware that the detractors have been out in full force.
“Some people, I’m not going to say who, they don’t think we try,” DeLaGarza told LAGalaxy.com's Larry Morgan. “But I can tell you there’s not a single player on this team, in this league or a professional athlete, period, who wants to lose.
“We practice every day to win games, and sometimes it doesn’t happen. You’ve just got to find a way past that.”
One of the bright spots for the team is that goalkeeper Josh Saunders could be available for the June 17 match. Saunders is wrapping up his MLS Substance Abuse and Behavior Health program time. (Courtesy Sporting News)
“We have a crazy stretch of games coming up,” Saunders told the press. “We need to work on the little things, then it’s all going to show on the field."