Blog

15 October 8:52 am

Photo by Robert Mora/LA Galaxy

CARSON, Calif. -- Whether it's with the LA Galaxy Academy, Reserve League squad or first team, Oscar Sorto has shown his skills at the young age of 18. 

Sorto started and went a full 90 minutes during the LA Galaxy Under-18's 3-1 victory over the Chivas USA Under-18's on Sunday. 

The Academy victory comes days after Sorto went 22 minutes in the Galaxy's 2-0 Reserve League victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps last Friday, playing primarily at right back. His stint against Vancouver was Sorto's sixth of the year with LA's Reserve Squad.  His integration into the first team aside, it has been a whirlwind year for Sorto, who told LA Galaxy Insider last month that he was in conversations with the club for a Homegrown deal, just weeks after traveling to Sweden to train with Hammarby. With Sorto racking up experience with the first team, Galaxy U-18 head coach Eddie Soto is full of praise for the youngster from South Central Los Angeles.

“He’s very honest and a mature player. He’s doing really well with the first team and today was no exception,” said Soto on Sunday after LA’s victory over Chivas. “He’s probably one of the most consistent players that I've ever coached in all my years. He did well today, maybe a little more from him on the ball, but you're going to expect more with guys like that.” 

Below Sorto discusses how his life with the Academy has changed now that he is training regularly with the first team.

(On playing with Academy after training with first team…)

SORTO: “It’s pretty hard, trying to communicate with the younger players because with the first team and the reserves, we have a different style of playing that is more offensive, but with the Academy, it’s more about possession.”

(On being a leader with the U-18s…)

SORTO: “I try to show the rest of players that I’m here for them to be their leader. For that, I have to work hard, both for me and for the team to show them that anyone can make it if you try.”

(On what can be learned from playing in the SuperClasico…)

SORTO: “You can learn a lot because at the next level, you're going to need to be physical all the time. I think that playing against Chivas is a good challenge for us.”

15 October 6:44 am

Photo by Robert Mora/LA Galaxy

CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy Academy is loaded with a number of talented prospects, but this Developmental Academy season, the Galaxy have added another to their ranks-- established youth prospect Paul Arriola. 

Formerly of Temecula-based youth club Arsenal (the club of players like Raul Mendiola, Hector Jimenez and U.S. national team defender Carlos Bocanegra), Arriola made his Development Academy debut for the Galaxy Under-18's in their 3-1 victory over Chivas USA in the SuperClasiquito on Sunday. Throughout the match, the 5-foot-7 forward was a thorn in the Rojiblancos' side, creating several scoring chances, but was ultimately unable to finish on his own. 

Arriola brings an impressive pedigree to the Galaxy, having spent years at Arsenal while also appearing on the United States' squad for the 2011 Under-17 World Cup. With a player Arriola joining the squad, Under-18 coach Eddie Soto admitted that the Galaxy had become "the place to be" among the Academies in Southern California. 

“It should be. LA Galaxy is the premier team. We obviously want to have the best players and create the best environment for future Galaxy players with the first team. We take a lot of pride with what we do here and from what we do on and off the field so hopefully, we can produce more players to join the first team."

Below Arriola discusses the SuperClasiquito and his integration into the Galaxy Academy...

ARRIOLA:  “It’s a big game so it’s always interesting to play against good players as well as former national team players and current national team players as well. And being able to play to play with the pros and because this is a Clasico, you have to prepare well and be mentally good. You learn to play quick and play for your team.”

(On describing himself as a player...)

ARRIOLA: "I’m not the biggest man, but I’m very quick and I wouldn’t say that I’m the best technically, but I’m very technical. A lot of Americans are starting to be more technical and we’re starting to be more comfortable on the ball. I’m a wide forward, I like to use my speed and be able to whip crosses in and get behind the defense and get opportunities.”

(On his professional aspirations...)

ARRIOLA: "I’d love to go professional. That’s been my dream since I was little and that’s the thing that I want to push for whether it’s before college or after a year of college or four years of college. Eventually, that’s my goal and whether it happens before or after, I’m still going to push for it no matter what."

(On his relationship with the UCLA coaches...)

ARRIOLA: "There are always asking about me and asking if I need anything and I always call them up to tell how I’m doing. We have a great relationship."

(On his future with the U.S. set-up...)

ARRIOLA: "I’ve been in the national team since I first started. I was in the Under-14 at 13 years old and I’ve been to the Under-17 World Cup, I lived in Residency. I’m currently with the Under-18 national team and we have a camp in Carson in November so I’m currently with them. I’d love to keep going as far as I can, but I just have to push myself and get myself in the right environment."

(On returning to full fitness after suffering an injury during an Under-18 tournament in Holland...)

ARRIOLA: "I’m feeling close. This is my first game since coming back from Holland, it was a good one. Being able to finish my chances at the very end is very important. It’s very important to finish those. Obviously, I’m not there yet, but it’s more mental now."

(If the friendships that he has on the team were the reason that he joined the Galaxy Academy...)

ARRIOLA: "Yes. They’re really great guys and getting the chance to interact with the first team and the reserves is good. Obviously, the Galaxy are one of the best programs in the united states as far as MLS teams are concerned."

14 October 3:11 pm

CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy Academy sides split a pair of results on Sunday afternoon at fields surrounding The Home Depot Center.

The LA Galaxy Under-18s defeated the Chivas USA Under-18’s 3-1 in the first game of the morning. The match was a physical affair as Justin Dhillon opened the scoring for the Galaxy before Daniel Moreno leveled it for Chivas. LA would take the lead late in the first half when Drew Murphy put the Galaxy up just before half time. LA continued to dominate in the second half and Jack McBean would add an insurance goal just seconds before full time.

Meanwhile, in the second match, the Galaxy Under-16’s fell 2-0 to their Chivas counterparts. The young Rojiblancos controlled wide stretches of the match and opened the scoring when Alejandro Vergara fired a pinpoint cross to Caleb Calvert. Chivas would add a second in the closing stages of the match as Daniel Crisostomo sealed the win.

Below are general thoughts from U-18 head coach Eddie Soto and U-16 Craig Harrington on the match.

SOTO: “We were getting a feel for each other and it was a little bit chippy, but I felt in the second half, we kind of took control of the rhythm of the game and obviously, did really well with our chances. Defensively, I thought that we were superb in the second half. Ivan Vasquez came in at centerback and we had Oscar Sorto playing right back and the two of them, plus the other two they did a great job." 

HARRINGTON:  "Obviously, losing to your neighbors isn’t the best thing, but we have to keep perspective because this is such a young group. I spoke to them [after the game] and said there are 15 guys that by next year…will be playing as older players with more expectations. Individually, I thought they responded very well at halftime and I thought the way that they started the game was the best that they’ve started all year. In the final third right now is where this group is struggling as a team. But collectively, the skill and talent out here is amazing."

14 October 8:22 am

Robbie Keane has been deemed fit to travel to Ireland's World Cup Qualifier against the Faroe Islands on Tuesday, the Irish Federation said in a statement on Sunday morning. 

The Irish captain missed Friday's 6-0 defeat against Germany in Dublin with an Achilles injury, but has been declared fit enough to travel to Tuesday's important World Cup Qualifier. 

Ireland are currently in third place in UEFA World Cup Qualifying group C, three points behind Christian Wilhelmsson's Sweden.

13 October 6:17 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- On Sunday morning, the LA Galaxy and Chivas USA Academies will renew their hostilities in the SuperClasiquito. 

The morning will begin with the Galaxy Under-18's taking on the Chivas USA Under-18's at 10:00 a.m.. at the Home Depot Center's University Field #2 before the U-16's face off against one another at 12:30 p.m.. Both U-18 clubs have enjoyed success this season as the two rivals are currently tied for second place in the U.S.. Soccer Development Academy Southwest Division with three points apiece. Meanwhile, the season has been a bit more difficult for both of the U-16s teams as the two both are currently in sixth (LA) and seventh (Chivas) place respectively in the USSDA's Southwest Division. 

Below Galaxy U-18 Jack McBean discusses the importance of facing off against their cross-hall rivals. 

MCBEAN: "It's a big game for us. We know that Chivas is a really good team as well and they've gotten some good results this season so far. This game will be the first real test for our team and see what we're made of."

13 October 4:12 pm

Courtesy of LAGalaxy.com, highlights of Friday's LA Galaxy Reserve League victory. 

13 October 9:30 am

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. 

A complete schedule for Tuesday's action can be found here.

12 October 3:08 pm

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.”

12 October 2:54 pm

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."

12 October 1:42 pm

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."