CARSON, Calif - - Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas USA share a city, stadium, and on Saturday, their Academies shared the points.
Both the U16 and U18 games ended in a 1-1 draw between the two MLS Academies from the City of Angels.
In the U18 game, both goals came in the first half, and perhaps there should have been more.
Chivas USA had the better run of play to start the game and was rewarded eight minutes in when Marco ‘Marky’ Delgado was brought down in the box by Galaxy’s keeper Juan Cervantes.
Cervantes made up for the error with a diving save on Delgado’s penalty kick to keep the squads even in the opening ten minutes.
Galaxy made a strong push right before half to get the game back on level terms. Willie Raygoza’s silky combination with Sebastian Velasquez broke down the Chivas USA defense, but keeper Jake McGuire pushed away the shot.
Two minutes later, Galaxy right back Oscar Sorto hit what originally appeared to be a hopeful cross to no one in particular, but Chivas USA defense failed to handle the ball.
Mario Rodriguez thanked them for the careless defending with a one-time effort from 20 yards out to net the game-tying strike only seconds before the halftime whistle.
The two teams had little to show from the second half beyond one moment of significance between Delgado and Cervantes again.
Chivas USA left midfielder Eric Gonzalez hit a long ball over the top of the defense into Delgado’s path. The gifted playmaker slightly bumped his mark to create space and then hit a shot bound for the upper corner of the goal, but Cervantes punched the ball away for a corner kick.
Galaxy remains one point behind Chivas USA in the SoCal Standings with a game in hand. Galaxy is back in action next week against Pateadores, while Chivas USA is off until March.
When a striker is hot, everything seems to go his way. That is the case with Jorge ‘Jorgie’ Ruiz right now.
After a listless, scoreless first half, Ruiz and Chivas USA turned up the pressure to start the second half. They were immediately rewarded for their hustle with a fluky goal.
Two minutes after the start of the half, an attempted clearance by a Galaxy defender serendipitously bounced off Ruiz’s foot, sailed over the keeper, and landed in the net for Ruiz’s fifth goal in his last four games.
The 14-year-old is now tied for leading scorer honors on Chivas USA U16 with Romario Lomeli, who had a very good game on the day as well, with nine a piece.
Chivas USA seized full control of the tilt after the goal, and Ruiz was once again in the thick of things. The young winger hit a 40-yard pass on a rope to Lomeli, who beat his mark with an excellent first touch.
Galaxy keeper Daniil Slepukhin rushed out of his box to stop the threat, but Lomeli easily rounded the charging, off-balance keeper. Slepukhin was forced to clip the strikers’ heel and concede the foul.
The referee deemed it was only a yellow card offense, much to the chagrin of the Chivas USA bench, and the teams continued with even numbers. The free kick bounced harmlessly off the wall, but eventually led to a sequence of corner kicks for Chivas USA, which would be its undoing on the Galaxy goal.
After a handful of corner kicks, none of which resulted in anything meaningful, Galaxy finally found an outlet pass and exploited the Chivas USA defense. LA efficiently pinged the ball from one side to the other, Kevin Labastida capitalized on the lack of defenders behind the ball. The Galaxy midfielder settled a cross about 17 yards from goal and volleyed home his fourth goal of the season.
Galaxy looked the more likely side to find the winner directly after its goal, but Chivas USA withstood the onslaught for some time and settled back into the contest.
Chivas USA coach Mike Munoz brought on Edzon Cuevas in the final ten minutes, who provided a spark to the proceedings, but had his lone effort on goal awkwardly saved by Slepukhin.
Galaxy U16 is now 4-1-2 on the season, and trails RSL-AZ by five points. Chivas USA is 3-2-3 and remains in fourth place in the SoCal standings.
Galaxy U18: Juan Cervantes; Nathan Smith, Javan Torre, Jeffery Payeras, Oscar Sorto; Grady Howe, Drew Murphy, William Raygoza; Jamie Villarreal, Mario Rodriguez, Sebastian Velasquez
Chivas USA U18: Jake McGuire; Julio Chavez, Brendan Hines-Ike, Stephen Copley, Joel Martinez; Marco Delgado, Eduardo Quezada, Rene Santos, Eric Gonzalez; Mark Verso, Jose Dheming
Galaxy U16: Daniil Slepukhin; Rolando Munoz, Ivan Vasquez, Justin Schottenhammer, Nathan Castillo; Bryan Guzman, Juan Arellano, Matthew Perez; Justin Dhillon, Aaron Lombardi, Kevin Labastida
Chivas USA U16: Vincent Morales; Malcolm Jones, Sebastian Velasco, Jeffrey Quezada, Adonis Amaya; Adam Arana, Josue Garcia, Ever Delatorre; Bradford Jamieson, Jorge Ruiz, Romario LomeliJ.R. Eskilson is a staff reporter at TopDrawerSoccer.com. Follow him on or send him an email.