There were three LA Galaxy players in action on Friday's International date and all three registered victories.
Christian Wilhelmsson started and went 61 minutes for Sweden in their come from behind 2-1 victory over the Faroe Islands on Friday. With the victory, the Swedes are now in sole possession of second place in UEFA World Cup Qualifying Group C after Robbie Keane-less Ireland fell 5-0 to Germany earlier in the day. Sweden will now take on Germany on Tuesday while Ireland -- who hope to have Robbie Keane back from an Achilles injury -- face the Faroe Islands.
Halfway around the world, Dan Keat came into the match during the 89th minute of New Zealand's 2-0 victory over Tahiti in Papeete, Tahiti. The Kiwis are now in first place in the final stage of World Cup Qualifying, three points ahead of New Caledonia. New Zealand are back in action on Tuesday evening with a return leg against Tahiti in Christchurch.
Back in Europe, Jose Villarreal tallied a pair of goals -- each coming off assists from Galaxy youth product Javan Torre -- in the United States Under-20's 2-0 victory over Scotland Under-21's in the Marbella Cup. The U.S. U-20s return to the field on Tuesday as they close the tournament against Azerbaijan's Under-20s.
CARSON, Calif. --The Reserve League is an important outlet for young players to hone their craft and LA Galaxy rookie midfielder Rafael Garcia has taken the opportunity and run with it this season.
Garcia tallied a goal and an assist in Friday's 6-0 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps, helping LA clinch the MLS Reserve League's West Division title. The goal and assist brought Garcia's total for the Reserve League season to two goals and an assist 10 appearances, seven of them starts.
On Friday, while working in tandem with midfield partner Kenny Walker, Garcia helped control possession throughout the match, limiting Vancouver to just a pair of decent scoring opportunties over 90 minutes. Throughout the game, Garcia was a danger going forward as well as he helped assist on Pat Noonan's opening goal before tallying one of his own in the 63rd.
Below Garcia discusses the importance of LA's Reserve League win...
GARCIA: “I think that winning mentality of this team has improved throughout the season. This Reserve League was a good learning experience for the young guys as well as myself. The message that we put out there is that we want to compete and we want to play and we’re definitely going to push for minutes with the first team. For us, it’s huge to finish the Reserve League with this big win so now I think that we have to move forward and keep doing what we’re doing and keep improving. But most importantly, help the first team because it’s playoff time so whatever we can do to get this team ready for playoffs, we’ll do it.”
(On the win being a confidence booster ahead of CCL match against Metapán…)
“Absolutely, we know that it’s not going there to go play, we’re obviously going in there to get a result. For me, it’s important because I think that this team has gotten six games for the last six times. It’s a good team, everyone is hungry and everyone wants to show that they belong here. I think that we’ll just go out there to Metpn and give our best effort, but obviously, we’re going out there to get a W."
(On the play of the Galaxy’s veterans – like Pat Noonan-- in the Reserve team’s success…)
GARCIA: “[Noonan] just makes everything so much easier. You got the guys that are work horses that are like little bunnies that run around. Then you’ve got someone like Pat that just wants to make everything so much easier and simple. That run that he made on his first goal, I don’t think that anybody could have made that run but Pat. Playing guys like that as well as Edson, Andy in the back and it makes our job easier. Their leadership helps a lot as well.”
CARSON, Calif. -- The Reserve League win may be considered immaterial to some, but veteran LA Galaxy forward Pat Noonan believes that LA's success could play an important role in LA's playoff chase.
With injuries piling up at the late stages of the season, to players like Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane, Todd Dunivant and A.J. DeLaGarza among others, LA will need players to step in and play if called upon. This was the case last week as defenders Tommy Meyer and Bryan Gaul played significant minutes in LA's defeat to Real Salt Lake. This may become more common place in the latter stages of the season, as when LA resumes action on Oct. 21 against the San Jose Earthquakes -- and if they play and advance from the MLS Knock Out Round game -- the Galaxy will play in at five matches over a two week span.
Ahaed of that brutal stretch, Noonan understands that the Reserve League players are ready -- both physically and mentally -- to participate.
NOONAN:"[We provide] Depth. Who knows how long some of these guys that are injured are going to be. It's going to take guys to step in and be sharp in games like this so that their fitness is there and their concentration is there and they're coming to play. If not, then you're going to still be there in a reserve role to get late minutes in those playoff games. It's going to be very important because especially with the playoff format where it's a Wednesday, Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday if we're able to advance, we're going to need guys and healthy bodies so everyone is going to need to be contributing."
CARSON, Calif. -- Central to the success of the LA Galaxy in the MLS Reserve League has been Reserve League head coach Curt Onalfo.
Talk to any member of the Galaxy Reserves and all have been immensely complimentary of the role that the Galaxy assistant has played in their success. This appreciation was in full effect at the end of LA's 6-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps, which clinched the Reserve League's West Division as the players gave their coach a Gatorade bath.
The Fruit Punch Gatorade drenched Onalfo discusses the importance of the Division title below...
ONALFO: “Any time that you have a game where you need to get a result to win a championship and you come out with that sort of performance, it’s a great thing. It’s a tribute to how hard this group has worked the entire time. We have a very deep roster and this is something that we take this really seriously. I thought we actually started a little bit slow with some nerves, but once we settled down and started playing our game, we took the game to them. I thought our possession was excellent and I thought we created a ton of chances. We scored a great brand of soccer and scored a whole bunch of goals. We’re really pleased with the performance and glad that we won the league.”
(On the role of the Reserve League…)
ONALFO: “There are so many things that the Reserve League represents and that’s the difficult thing to manage as a coach. You have guys that you want to develop so you have times where they’ll play a lot of minutes and make mistakes. You have veterans that sometimes want to play and sometimes don’t want to play so you have to make sure that they’re motivated to play. Then you have a group guys that just want to show—those are the easiest to motivate. And you have guys coming back from injury so you have all these things and you have to look ahead to the future, one week ahead, a couple weeks ahead and down the line. If you look at this game, not only did we want to win it, to win the championship, but we want to get these guys ready to possibly play in El Salvador in a couple weeks. If they’re called upon then we want them to be ready and this is a perfect opportunity for them to show Bruce and the rest of the coaching staff that they belong.”
(On what the Reserve League Division title says about the Academy’s depth…)
ONALFO: “It says a lot. If you look at, we’ve had more than 35 appearances and Home Grown players so that’s what we want to do so it says a lot. Our Academy is growing all the time and there is a huge emphasis since Chris has been in charge of it. My son plays in it so I’m over there a lot. There’s a great correlation and connection with the first team so we’re proud of how that has worked and it’s only getting better.”
(On the play of Pat Noonan…)
ONALFO: “What I told him after the game is to be a sense of calmness for them. Be the brains. That’s what he was. He played a really good game and an intelligent game, scores our first goal and assists on another. He brings leadership poise and composure to the group.”
(On Noonan looking to participate in the playoffs…)
ONALFO: “That’s what his eye is for, he wants to improve his standing and get more playing time. That’s his motivation and to his credit, he takes it with a great attitude and it showed in his performance.”
(On the play of Rafael Garcia…)
ONALFO: “He’s a winner. He’s a hard-working, blue collar guy that can also pass and do some great things with his feet. He’s played in all ten games and always made a difference.”
(On the play of McBean…)
ONALFO: “He’s a goal scorer. He’s the leading scorer of the Reserve League and he’s played less than 300 minutes. This is his [eighth] game in limited minuets, but he always finds a way to score goals. That’s something that you can’t teach, that’s something that you have to keep an eye on and watch them develop. He had a great week of training and in moments are difficult because you have Edson Buddle, who is an older and veteran player is getting the minutes more than jack where there is time that you want Jack to be in there to get those minutes to develop. But those are all a part of the juggle. We want Edson sharp for the playoffs and at the same time, we want Jack to be sharp and continue to develop so I think that it was a win, win getting both of those guys 45 minutes."
(On McBean’s growth…)
ONALFO: "He came to us as a really young 16-year-old…Remember, when you were 16, I do. I remember it like it was yesterday, those were fun times…he’s maturing physically and mentally and that’s all part of his development."
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy Reserves clinched the MLS Reserve League West Division with a 6-0 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps Reserves on Friday.
Jack McBean scored two goals in the second half as Rafael Garcia, Tommy Meyer, Andrew Boyens and Pat Noonan each added goals of their own in the convincing romp that set a club record for goals in a Reserve League match. Noonan opened the scoring in the fourth minute of play, but the Galaxy added five in the second half from Meyer in the 55th, Garcia in the 63rd Boyens in the 70th and a pair from McBean in the 88th and 91st. McBean's brace gives the 17-year-old the Reserve League lead in goals scored with five.
With the win, LA seal the West Division title with a 6-3-1 record, a year after finishing in dead last in the West with a record of 1-6-2.
A few notes and thoughts from the match:
*With three assists: Raul Mendiola, Pat Noonan, Michael Stephens and Kyle Nakazawa tie for the Galaxy Reserve lead.
*Seven former Galaxy Academy players took part in the match: Galaxy Under-20s: Rafael Garcia, Michael Stephens and Brian Perk, Galaxy Under-18s: Jack McBean, Oscar Sorto, Raul Mendiola and Drew Murphy. At the final whistle, six of the 11 Galaxy players on the field were former Academy players.
*Several Galaxy First team players were in attendance including Landon Donovan, Juninho, Todd Dunivant and others.
*The win was an important confidence builder for this group, who are likely to play during LA's CONCACAF Champions League match in El Salvador against Isidro Metapán on October 25th.
As part of my commitment to longer form writing on this website as well as the humanization of the members of the team, I spoke to Galaxy assistant coach Curt Onalfo about his battle with Hodgkin's disease.
Following today's Reserve League finale, I'll have even more on Onalfo as well as his thoughts on how his battles have empowered his son, Galaxy Under-16 player Christian Onalfo.
Jose Villarreal enjoyed a big day on Friday as the LA Galaxy Homegrown Player helped United States Under-20's earn a 2-0 victory over the Scotland Under-21's on Friday at the Marbella Cup.
Villarreal scored twice in the span of ten minutes with a pair of goals in the 20th and 30th minute off throw-ins from fellow Galaxy youth product and UCLA freshman defender Javan Torre.
The U.S. is now 1-1 during the tournament and will take on Azerbaijan on Tuesday.
Apologies for the lean post amount today to everyone.
But it is important that you get this update...The LA Galaxy Reserves will go for the West Division title against the Vancouver Whitecaps Reserve squad at 10 am on Friday. A victory against the Whitecaps and LA will clinch the title.
The will take place at U.S. Soccer field #3, which is near the main entrance of the stadium and is free to the public.
Robbie Keane will not be suiting up for Ireland in their World Cup Qualifer against Germany on Friday due to an Achillies injury, the Irish Federation announced on Thursday. According to the release, Keane will remain with the squad and "will hopefully" be available for Ireland's next qualifier against the Faroe Islands next Tuesday.
Ireland are currently in third place in Group C, tied on points with Sweden with three, but trailing on goal differential. Germany lead the group with six points, having played one more match than both Sweden and Ireland.
There was no "Ask the Insider" question this week so we're mixing it up a little bit.
I'm taking questions on every topic relating to the Galaxy and those that are interested in asking questions can respond here or on the club's Facebook page.
If your question is selected to be answered, it will not only get a blog post response, but the winning question will also get a pair of tickets to the Galaxy's Regular Season finale on Oct. 28 against the Seattle Sounders.