CARY, N.C. – There will be no Landon Donovan, Omar Gonzalez or Robbie Keane for the LA Galaxy on Wednesday, but the club will have plenty weapons when they take on the Carolina RailHawks in their U.S. Open Cup Third Round match.
Headlining the club’s squad will be young forward Jose Villarreal as well as fellow Homegrown forward Gyasi Zardes and 2013 MLS SuperDraft first round pick Charlie Rugg. Villarreal did not partake in the U.S. Under-20’s Toulon tournament in France in order to be available for the Galaxy and is likely to earn a start on Wednesday.
“It’s going to be another good test for us. Coming into this game, the thing in mind is kind of a revenge type thing. They’re pumped to play us and the crowd is going to be influencing them so it’ll be a test for us,” Villarreal told LA Galaxy Insider. “Of course, we’re taking this seriously. We want to win and the thing that motivates us even more is to get our revenge and beat them back and take them out of the tournament like they did us.”
With the RailHawks defense conceding just eight goals in their six league matches this season—second best in the NASL—Villarreal knows that he’ll face considerable pressure from the Carolina defense, but he’s looking to contribute.
“If I play or not, however, way that I can contribute to the team will be important for me and important for the team,” said Villarreal. “If I can score a goal or assist someone for a goal then that will be perfect for me and for the team.”
As for that revenge motivation, Villarreal isn't alone in that mindset.
"We get a chance to fix something that we messed up last year. We’re excited to be back here and we’re expecting a battle," midfielder Rafael Garcia told LA Galaxy Insider. "Like I said, we have that little chip on our shoulder that we should have won last year and hopefully, we’ll get it right this time."