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30 August 6:55 pm

It is time for the fifth edition of "Ask the Insider"

After Wednesday's 4-0 LA Galaxy victory over the Puerto Rico Islanders, today's question  comes from Christian LA who asks: Out of all the "reserve" players...who was your standout player?"

The LA Galaxy's 4-0 win over the Puerto Rico Islanders was certainly a comprehensive one with several standout players including the likes of Jose Villarreal and Michael Stephens, but for me, the night belonged to rookie midfielder Rafael Garcia. 

While Garcia did not get on the score sheet, the 23-year-old rookie midfielder from Cal-State Northridge was integral in the Galaxy's midfield dominance of the Islanders. With Garcia partnered alongside Kenney Walker and Stephens in the midfield, the trio overwhelmed the Islanders through an industrious play and high work ethic which has been forged in Reserve League play. The trio were particularly effective in their distribution as they completed 135 of their 164 total passes for a completion rate of 82%. Much of LA's ability to complete passes came down to the play of Garcia, who controlled the center of the park by  repeatedly winning challenges in midfield and then sending passes forward towards goal -- completing 38 of his 46 total passes on the night. 

Although,  the rookie midfielder faces a stern test to earn a starting role in a stacked Galaxy midfield, with his superior decision making and tenacity on full display during his performance against the Islanders, Garcia may become more of a presence on Galaxy game day rosters during the stretch run.

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Thanks Christian, you can get your tickets by e-mailing socialmedia@lagalaxy.com. For everyone else, remember to leave your questions on the LA Galaxy Facebook page following the club's next match against the Colorado Rapids on September 14th  for the chance to have your question featured and win tickets to an upcoming Galaxy game.

30 August 2:30 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- Youth paid off for the LA Galaxy on Wednesday as a lineup that included nine players under the age of 23 and five rookies demolished the Puerto Rico Islanders, 4-0 in CONCACAF Champions League play. 

Leading the charge on Wednesday were a pair of teenage Homegrown forwards in Jack McBean and Jose Villarreal. The pair created numerous scoring chances in the first half before McBean helped set up Villarreal's goal just seconds into the second half. Although a collision on the goal ultimately forced Villarreal from the match, McBean would bag his own goal in the 80th minute of play.

Following the victory, both young strikers were pleased with their partnership.

MCBEAN: "I think we kind of work off each other a little bit. I see him running, so I kind of want to help him out. And we’ve played together in then Academy for a year now; it’s always good playing with a really skillful guy under me that I can lay the ball off to him. I know he’s got my back and I’ve got his and well work for each other and work hard."

VILLARREAL: "We played a young team with me and Jack up top, but me and jack played in academy together so we knew each other pretty well and I think we did a good job and we got the win which was good." 

29 August 11:36 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- Edson Buddle made his long awaited return to action on Wednesday as the LA Galaxy forward went 19 minutes in LA's 4-0 CONCACAF Champions League victory over the Puerto Rico Islanders.

The return is a longtime coming for Buddle, who last played on May 26th in the Galaxy's 2-1 defeat to the Houston Dynamo. After a collision with Houston's Cory Ashe during the match, Buddle was forced to undergo surgery on his right knee to repair damage done to his meniscus on June 5th. Limited to light training until last week, Buddle was pleased with his run out against the Islanders. 

BUDDLE: "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. But at the same time, I was aware that it is my first game and I think my teammates around me made it easier because they were available and the young guys have been doing a good job so far."

(On hoping to retake his spot in the lineup...)

BUDDLE: It’s something that I’ve done before in my career. I think that I’ve played a long time now and it helps my game and makes me a better player. It kind of helped my injury because Bruce was in a good mood everyday and didn’t put any pressure on me to get back because the team is doing well right now and it allowed me to heal properly.

(On what he can do to help the Galaxy in the stretch run...)

BUDDLE: "Score goals. Do what I’ve done in the past and score goals."

(On the fan reception...)

BUDDLE: "It was great, it was good to hear, it makes me feel like they haven’t forgotten about me and at least it makes me feel that all the hard work that I’ve done in the past makes it able for them to cheer me on."

(On beating Puerto Rico after playing them in 2010...)

BUDDLE: " Absolutely. What comes around…it feels good."

29 August 11:23 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- Dangerous performances are becoming a habit for LA Galaxy youngster Jose Villarreal. 

Villarreal bagged a goal in 52 minutes of action in the LA Galaxy's 4-0 CONCACAF Champions League victory over the Puerto Rico Islanders. From the outset, Villarreal seemed in tune with strike partner Jack McBean as the teenagers caused considerable problems for the Puerto Rico back line. Villarreal finally broke through just seconds into the second half as he cut through a pair of Puerto Rico defenders, flicking the ball forward before being knocked to the ground. Ultimately, Villarreal was forced to leave the match due to the collision that left him with a welt on the back of his head well after the match. 

Although the forward was forced to leave the match early, he believes that he will be fine ahead of Saturday's clash against the Vancouver Whitecaps. 

VILLARREAL: "I’m feeling fine. 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, I’m fine."

(On sense of pride for the youngsters to win an important game…)

VILLARREAL: "Yeah, there’s pride but we just have to focus and not let that get in our way because we’ve been playing with the reserve league. We just have to keep playing the way we are and when Bruce tells us to come and play, we just have to do what we did tonight."

(On his goal...)

VILLARREAL: "Jack flicked it off and I kept running, the goalie came out and I just took a touch right by him and after that I think I toe poked it, I’m hat I was on the ground. I never got to see my goal."

29 August 11:05 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- At first glance, the LA Galaxy's lineup for a must-win CONCACAF Champions League match against the Puerto Rico Islanders was shocking 

For a Galaxy side that has made the CCL a club priority, it was surprising to see nine players under the age of 23 and five rookies start against the Islanders. However, the kids quickly showed that they were alright. Tallying four goals on the night, the Galaxy thoroughly trounced the Islanders picking up a vital point in their quest to advance from Group 5 play and into the later stages of the continental competition.

While the success may have surprised some in the press box, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena was not shocked at all by the performance of his young players. 

ARENA: "Well our team's come a long way, all these players we have. The young ones have really developed well over the year and you can see they’re getting confidence and can play, and hopefully that speaks well for the rest of the season and the future for some of the young players...We were very confident in these guys. That’s the reason they played tonight, because they could beat this team."
 

29 August 10:47 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- Spearheaded by a youthful reserve-laden lineup, the LA Galaxy crushed the Puerto Rico Islanders 4-0 to win their second consecutive game in the CONCACAF Champions League. 

It was a thorough performance that was sparked early on by the play of stellar 18-year-old forward Jose Villarreal as well as a Galaxy midfield that overwhelmed the Islanders. The victories place the Galaxy in the catbird seat for the final two CCL matches, which both take place on the road. 

Here are my Three Points to the match.  For more check out the highlights below

Agree or Disagree with the points? What were your keys to the game?

Share your thoughts in the comments section. 

29 August 2:49 pm

We're just hours away from tonight's CONCACAF Champions League tie between the LA Galaxy and Puerto Rico Islanders.

For more on the match, consult LAGalaxy.com staff writer Larry Morgan's preview on the match

The LA Galaxy may be without the all three Designated Players tonight as Robbie Keane is suspended while David Beckham (stomach illness) and Landon Donovan (left hamstring strain) remain injury question marks. 

Lastly, be sure to check out my Three Points to the game

As always, follow along with me on the livechat during the game and be sure to catch Joe Tutino and Ralph Perez's broadcast of the game as well on LAGalaxy.com's match report.

29 August 1:37 pm

CARSON, Calif. --Two years ago, the Puerto Rico Islanders shocked the LA Galaxy at The Home Depot Center, but according to forward Jose Villarreal, the Galaxy have a game plan in mind to shut down the Islanders. 

Puerto Rico arrive at The HDC having not scored in three NASL matches, but bring with them a talented offense that provides a dangerous mix of physicality and speed. The Galaxy may have to face the Islanders without all three of their Designated Players as Irish forward Robbie Keane is suspended while David Beckham (stomach illness) and Landon Donovan (left hamstring strain) are injury doubts. This could open up opportunities for players like Villarreal, who may earn his second CONCACAF Champions League start on Wednesday with Keane suspended and Donovan questionable. 

The opportunity to participate in such an important may may deter some younger players, but Villarreal has a plan for Galaxy success.

VILLARREAL: "They're a very physical and athletic team with a lot of strong guys that have pace, but I think that if we put the ball on the ground and move it around them then I think we'll be able to get around them and score some goals." 

29 August 10:47 am

A Good gameday Morning to everyone out there,

Tonight, the LA Galaxy will continue their CONCACAF Champions League campaign against the Puerto Rico Islanders.

Before the match, check out my Three Points to the match.

I'll be working on a very exciting Galaxy feature today, but expect more posts as we get closer to game time.

28 August 4:54 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy have moved on from their shock 2010 defeat in the CONCACAF Champions League preliminary round to the Puerto Rico Islanders, but they have by no means forgotten.

In 2010, with the LA Galaxy flying high in league play, LA suffered a 4-1 defeat at The Home Depot Center in the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League's preliminary round series with the Islanders. Fueled by two goals by Jamaican forward Nicolas Addlery, the Islanders crushed the Galaxy and advanced to the CCL's group stages a week later on a 5-3 aggregate after LA defeated the Islanders, 2-1 in Bayamón. 

For LA Galaxy midfielder Mike Magee -- who went 23 minutes during LA's victory in Puerto Rico -- the impetus will be on the Galaxy to match Puerto Rico's intensity to prevent a repeat of 2010. 

"That's not still in our mind. I think I remember a little bit when we saw them on tape earlier that kind of reminded us, but we have a much different team now and if anything, we can just take that on any given day anyone can beat anyone. So we definitely need to match their intensity at least."

(On Puerto Rico's recent inability to score goals...)

MAGEE: "They're not? They obviously scored a lot of goals on us a couple years ago. They look fast, they look fit and they have a lot of guys that we saw a couple years ago and played in the league who are dangerous so obviously, this is going to be a game where they're going to try harder so we've got to match them."

(On dangerous players for Puerto Rico...)

MAGEE: "Addlery....when he played us last time, he was a complete handful. Obviously, I haven't followed that league too much, but last time we played him, he was amazing and i think single handedly beat us."

(On whether or not LA overlooked Puerto Rico in 2010...)

MAGEE: "For sure. Sometimes you assume that just because they're in a different league that you can kind of play half a game and to be honest, if we don't play our best and we don't play our hardest then obviously we know that they can beat us but they can smash us."