Ready for the playoffs

Galaxy Academy goalkeeper Vince Paldino is looking forward to the postseason

The LA
Galaxy U-18 Academy team is just a few days away from reaching the club’s first
ever U.S. Soccer Development Academy playoff - and it’s proving great
motivation for goalkeeper Vince Paldino.

Paldino and
the rest of the U-18’s, as well as the U-16’s, just returned to Southern
California on the heels of an impressive showing at the annual U.S. Soccer
Development Academy Spring Showcase in Sarasota,
Fla.  

The Galaxy were
undefeated in the tournament as both the U-16 and U-18 teams finished the event
with identical 2-0-1 records.

Having come
back from a goal behind to draw their opening game 2-2, the Galaxy U-18’s went
on to record two solid victories in their final two matches. And Paldino, a
native of Torrance, Calif. was pleased to boast that their
success in the tournament has left the players buoyant in the build-up to their
final two fixtures of the season this weekend.

“We came
out strong. At first we got off to a good start – we were leading 1-0 after the
first three minutes - but then we fell behind quickly after that when they scored
two quick goals,” he said. “But those were the only two goals I let in during
the whole tournament, so that was good.” 

“We really
kept the ball well and we didn’t give up at all. Even in the first game we were
down, but we still found a way to come back. And in the second and third games
we just played at our best.”  

With the
players oozing with confidence given their recent success, the 17-year-old is
equally motivated by the chance to be a part of the first Academy team to reach
the playoffs in the club’s history.

Currently
lying in the fourth spot in the league standings, the U-18’s could finish in
second place in their league with a win on Saturday against Arsenal or a draw
with Arsenal and a win on Sunday against the Irvine Strikers. Any other results
would see the club claim a third place finish and a postseason berth via the
Wild Card.

And Paldino
has no doubt that once in the postseason, his team has the potential to go all
the way to the title.

“The
results at the Showcase gave us a lot of momentum. We’re already in a good
place, and the next two games could put us in an even better position so
hopefully we can do well.

 “Last year I was with the U-16’s and we didn’t
do too well (in the playoffs). But this year we have a great team and I think
we’ve got a really good chance of doing well. And if we get through to the
semi-finals (held at The Home Depot Center) I think we could win it all.”