COSTA MESA, Calif. - - Neither the wind nor Pateadores could slow down the Galaxy Academy on Saturday. LA collected victories in both Development Academy games despite limited numbers due to injuries on the U18 team.
William Raygoza, who was playing up an age, was the difference maker in the U18 game. The suave midfielder found the back of the net in the 20th minute to give the Galaxy an early lead and facilitated much of the offense on the day for the MLS Academy.
Drew Murphy started the play to set up Raygoza’s goal. Murphy hit a long cross to the far post, which Sebastian Velasquez knocked down for Raygoza. The U18 national team player placed his shot into the upper corner for the opening tally.
Again he hammered the effort toward net on his first touch, but a Pateadores defender blocked the shot off the line with his chest.
“It started out great,” Galaxy Academy coach Kenny Arena told TopDrawerSoccer.com about the U18 team’s performance. “Once they got tired though, it sort of died down.”
Arena cited the massive field that caused fatigue in some legs, and also left space for counterattacks, which the Pateadores capitalized on right before half.
The lone Pateadores tally came from TJ Casner, who was set free on goal by a great pass from Cameron Waymire. Casner lofted the bouncing ball over the keeper and into the empty net.
In the second half, it was one-way traffic with Galaxy taking command of the game thanks to the silky combination play of Raygoza, Velasquez, and Villarreal.
Three minutes into the second stanza, Villarreal nearly punished a massive blunder by Gaal. The keeper waited too long with the ball on his foot, and Villarreal closed enough space to block his clearance attempt. Gaal saved the embarrassing moment though, as he dove and swatted the ball away from the forward before it crossed the end line.
Galaxy would not be denied the three points and substitute Mario Rodriguez provided the right spark for the game-winning goal. The US Residency Program product supplied a perfectly weighted pass to Velasquez, who found the back of the net for the third time this season.
Galaxy U18 is now 5-1-0 in division play with an upcoming fixture against SoCal leaders Chivas USA next weekend.
In the U16 game, Pateadores and Galaxy were evenly matched in the first half, as neither team really took command of the match, but that quickly changed after half time.
Justin Dhillon scored three goals in 27 minutes in the second half and Galaxy U16 cruised to a 4-0 victory.
Dhillon’s first goal came basically out of nowhere. The tall winger received the ball on the touchline and immediately cut toward the middle of the field as challengers bounced off him.
The 16-year-old surprisingly tried his luck from 30 yards out, and rendered the keeper helpless with a well-placed shot into the upper corner of the net only two minutes after the break.
“I don’t think they settled down until that great goal from Justin [Dhillon],” said Arena. “They’ve found a way to continue to improve not just during the game, but through the whole season.”
Six minutes later, Dhillon doubled the Galaxy lead thanks to a splendid pass from Martin Arrieta, which led the winger in stride behind the defense for a semi-volley over the charging keeper and into the net.
In the 69th minute, Dhillon completed the hat trick with an easy finish from only eight yards out. Alejandro Vergara was the provider for the final goal. The 14-year-old slipped the pass in between multiple defenders to Dhillon for his final goal of the game.
Kevin Labastida recorded the final tally of the day only a few minutes later. After Rolando Munoz’s free kick bounced off the post, Labastida was in the right place for an easy tap in.
Galaxy U16 improves to 4-1-1 in division play, while Pateadores drops to 2-3-2.
Pateadores U18: Connor Gaal; Francisco Varela, Weston Meckes, Kevin Caskey, Derek Paterson; Jack Gorab, Angel Maldonado, Brian Vall, Alvin Ballesteros; Roberto Escudero, Robert Casner
Pateadores U16: Brandon Gomez; Arturo Fragoso, Colin McDermott, Alex Rosales, Corey Schramm; Danny Lopez, Arend Doppenberg, William Cline, Jose Castillo; Nahum Paz, Kevin DelatorreFollow J.R. ESKILSON on