Galaxy youngsters rout Islanders in CCL action

PatNoonan (Getty)

BY KAYLA KNAPP

CARSON, Calif.—Injuries, illness and a busy schedule meant a mostly reserve lineup for the Los Angeles Galaxy in their Wednesday night CONCACAF Champions League match—nine of the starters were under 23, including five rookies.

But that didn’t stop the youngsters from crushing the Puerto Rico Islanders 4-0. The win gave the Galaxy another crucial three points in Group 5 of the CCL, and they now sit on top of the table with six points.

“It wasn’t like he gave the reserve team some nonsense game,” Galaxy midfielder Michael Stephens said after the match. “That was a really important game for this team and everybody stepped up tonight.”

The Galaxy goals came from Tommy Meyer, Jose Villarreal, Jack McBean and Stephens—players that don’t get many first team minutes certainly made them count tonight.

“We see it in training, we know what they’re capable of and the kind of quality some of our players have. So we’re not surprised by the performance,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said. “If you asked me before the game if we expected to win 4-0, I would certainly have said no, but when you’ve get a group of players with confidence—the early goal I think was important for their confidence—and I just think they played extremely well for 90 minutes.”

Another bright moment for the Galaxy was when striker Edson Buddle made his first appearance since May 26th, replacing Pat Noonan in the 71st minute.

“It felt good, I was a little cautious, but I think through my equipment team and the medical staff, I was ready to go out there and push as hard as I can," Buddle said of his first run out in three months.

The only damper on the evening for the Galaxy was when rookie Villarreal, who has been providing a good spark for LA lately, was subbed off after taking a knock to the back of the head when he scored.

“I’m feeling fine,” Villarreal said after the game. “I tested with the doctor, and I’m feeling fine and hopefully tomorrow I train…it was just a knock in the back of the head.”

The Galaxy struck early, when Kenny Walker swung a corner kick into the box, finding Meyer on the far side. The defender headed it home, giving the Galaxy a 1-0 lead.

Just two minutes later, the Galaxy looked dangerous again when Villarreal struck a bicycle kick from the center of the box that went just wide.

The Islanders didn’t have many chances in the first half, with just one attempt on goal in the entire first 45. At halftime, it was 1-0 LA, but the Galaxy dominated most of the half.

It didn’t take long after halftime for the Galaxy to strike again.

In the 46th minute, Villarreal managed to get a shot off while trying to hold off a couple of Islanders defenders, making it 2-0 for the Galaxy.

Unfortunately for the young striker, Villarreal took a cleat to the back of the head and after being checked out on the sidelines by the trainers, had to be taken off in the 52nd minute. Sean Franklin entered the game, causing a shift in the lineup up. Hector Jimenez moved up to the wing, and Franklin took over at his usual right back position.

The Galaxy held off the Islanders for the rest of the second half, and scored a couple of security goals in the final ten minutes. McBean notched one in the 80th minute, and Stephens got his in the 82nd minute.

The Galaxy cruised for the final minutes, and kept a clean sheet to win 4-0 over the Islanders. It was not only an important win, but a rare opportunity for many of the young players to make an impression on the Galaxy staff in a match that was vital.

“We all want to show that we belong here and that whenever we get called upon we’re ready, so I thought the group was extremely, extremely well tonight in that sense,” Rafael Garcia said post-game. “We’re just looking to make the best of our opportunities…I think everyone that stepped on the field today gave 110% today.”

The Galaxy must quickly switch gears, and focus on their upcoming MLS match against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday.

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25 Responses to Galaxy youngsters rout Islanders in CCL action

  1. Robert Daniels says:

    Villareal is quickly becoming one of the bright young stars in this league.

  2. Jason says:

    I am not trying to nitpick, but its funny how the title read Galaxy youngsters and theirs an older guy in the photo for the Galaxy.

  3. Gnarls says:

    Kenny Walker impressed me last night. His control, work rate and corner kick accuracy were top notch. This LA reserve squad gives me hope for the future of the Gs and MLS in general.

  4. James says:

    he’s going to be a USA fixture soon.

  5. Steve says:

    The Galaxy reserve team is the second best soccer team in LA.

  6. That was a great game to watch. If this is what the future holds for MLS, we are going to be a top league.

    The MLS Academy system still needs some work. We are seeing what the potential could be.

  7. yankiboy says:

    When Puerto Rico Islanders win–I celebrate it and fly my colors and express my undying love for the club

    When they lose–I congratulate the other team and lament, lick my wounds and fly still my colors.

    There’s not enough words to communicate my disappointment and frustration over the club’s performance last night. I was and am still LIVID. No, I’m really PISSED OFF.

    I understand about the congested fixtures, the injuries, the fatigue, we used some new guys and resevres (who were brought in to help bolster the team)–I got all that. Last night we got our heads handed to us by a RESERVE squad. Sure, they are an ELITE reserve squad but they are still a RESERVE squad. Routed by a reserve squad.

    I AM STILL FUMING! The kind of fuming when I literally couldn’t fall asleep because I was so angry.

    The Tropa Naranja performance last night was not at the level that I have come to expect. I’m not even going to open the door into my specific complaints about what I saw for Puerto Rico last night. I’m going to leave that door shut.

    I actually thought about making the 3000+mile trip to LA to attend that match. I checked into the logistics. But the recent up and down form, knowing about guys who were at less than 100% on PRI’s roster-the only thing that would have made me even crazier and bitter about last night’s result would have been if I ignored the voice in my head that was shouting at me “Yanki, don’t do it–Not this one!!! DO. NOT. DO. IT.”

    Just imaging how salty I would be if I made the trip to the HDC.

    I LOVE La Tropa Naranja unlike any other club team that I have ever supported but last night pushed me over the edge.

    It wasn’t just the final score or the nature of the squad that LA fielded–it was that and the frustration of how Islanders performed. They can play better, I know that they can. Anybody else who had never seen them play before last night wouldn’t have a clue that they are capable of more.

    LA Galaxy has a lot to be proud of. Those kids played really well last night. Good for Onalfo–he’s done well by the young players. Great for Arena. He’s got young talent that was capable of getting not only a result but blowing out my boys. He trusted them to perform and they did well.

  8. Caasi Gohd says:

    Count the number of players on the Galaxy roster that were Galaxy draft picks (and have never played for any other team) or are academy players. It’s impressive.

  9. dgoshilla says:

    As a Galaxy fan I’m not too quick to praise this win. PR looked like the fix was in. They were horrible. I said to myself “this must be what the Man Utd fans felt like when they destroyed Seattle last year with their reserve squad”. I think the Galaxy reserves played well. However, anyone who has seen players like McBean in the regular season know how awful the kid is. Last night he looked like a stud. Ditto for just about every guy out there. None of these kids are US National material. Trust me.

  10. Benjamin C. says:

    You can feel how you want to feel, but this seems like a very cynical report concerning the Galaxy players. Villareal has show well in appearances for the full team and McBean is 17 years old. Have perspective.

  11. Gnarls says:

    You’re a very passionate fan and supporter of your club. That’s to be commended. Silver lining: this is a home and away tourney. PRI’s home games are yet to come. Cheers!

  12. Gnarls says:

    You lost all credibility when you said McBean and the reserves are awful.

  13. Gnarls says:

    McBean is a high school kid. Literally, he’s still in high school. And he participated in a man-sized a$$ wooping last night.

  14. Bart says:

    Yes, but Pat Noonan….Please go away

  15. Ron says:

    Great game by LA, but this is not the same Puerto Rico that we have seen in the CCL the past few years. There are much stronger teams in this tourney.

  16. US Soccer says:

    Just the tip of the iceberg, my friend

  17. BoBo says:

    Epic!!

  18. yankiboy says:

    Last night I wish I wish that McBean was playing for OC Senior High School or wherever the hech he’s from. He stepped up and played against men who who just last couple months months were on national team duty playing in Azteca while facing El Tri or marking freaking Fernando Torres in the Puerto Rico-Spain friendly and he flat out outplayed them! He had a great night!

    Give the kid a break. I don’t know about most of you guys but personally-At 17 I was working at Wendy’s. He’s playing with men. Don’t write him off yet.

  19. beachbum says:

    great post. Nothing but respect man, from a Galaxy fan.

    until the next game, cheers

  20. beachbum says:

    perspective…thanks

  21. Gnarls says:

    Haha, I was working at video store. Those don’t even really exist anymore. Anyway, I sure as hell wasn’t playing for the U-18 national team.

  22. HoBo says:

    great game for the younger players to get time on the pitch

  23. yankiboy says:

    Thanks. Much respect for the kind words. I gotta find some balance in my life. I shouldn’t be so gutted over something that is “just a sporting contest”.

    But I can’t help it. I just freaking lose my mind sometimes when it comes to PRI, USMNT & USWNT and the PRMNT national team. I can’t turn my brain off and get my emotions in check.

    I shouldn’t let Islanders losing effect me so much. But if I did that, the victories might not be as sweet, as intoxicating.

  24. yankiboy says:

    Maximum respect to you, Playah. LA’s future looks bright with those kids.

    I’ve attended at least one DC UNited MLS Reserve match a year since they started the MLS Reserve League. Including after they brought it back again. I’ve never seen a bunch of reserves look as good as those kids did last night.

    Those Galaxay youngin’s hurt my feelings. I’m trying to get to the point where I can laugh about it so that I can lower my blood pressure and start to break out of my foul mood…