CARSON, Calif. -- At 5-foot-8 and 180 pounds, the 18-year-old Jose Villarreal does not look like the most physical player, but during the Galaxy Homegrown player's recent rise, physicality has become an important part to the young forward's game.
After battling against the likes of Real Madrid's Pepe and Tottenham Hotspur's Jan Vertonghen's Villarreal has become skilled at holding up the ball against larger and more physical defenders. Throughout Tuesday's Reserve League victory over Chivas USA, Villarreal was not afraid to mix it up with burly Chivas center backs Nelson Akwari and Rauwshan McKenzie, this was most apparent late in the first when Akwari attempted to force the diminutive Villarreal off the ball near the Chivas box, but Villarreal was able to out-muscle the veteran defender and ultimately push him away to fire a shot on frame.
For a young forward, who is less than a month removed from is professional debut, physicality is just the latest weapon added to his arsenal.
"It was a tough game," said Villarreal. "They were very physical in the back and if you take a lot more touches than you're supposed to then they'll hit you so I was able to hold up the ball and make some good runs and help us get the win."