Galaxy defeat Blues as Opare makes debut
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy racked up their second victory of the preseason on Tuesday, defeating USL PRO’s Los Angeles Blues 3-0 at The Home Depot Center.
An own goal from midfielder Gabi Gonzalez as well as goals from Robbie Keane and Jose Villarreal proved the difference in LA’s commanding victory. The match represented a step up in size and competition from LA’s victory over the U.S. Under-17’s last week and yet another step forward for the Galaxy ahead of their regular season opener against the Chicago Fire on March 3.
“Another good practice game, good for all the guys,” said head coach Bruce Arena. “It’s an upgrade physically from the game we played the other day so that’s good and challenging and I thought the 90 minutes were good for both of our groups.”
Development and fitness are the name of the game in these early preseason games, but for rookie center back Kofi Opare, it was an unforgettable match. Opare made his first appearance for the Galaxy of the preseason after a pulled hamstring that he suffered during the 2013 MLS Combine kept him off the field at the start of training camp.
The 24th overall selection in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft checked in for A.J. DeLaGarza in the 60th minute of play and performed solid in 30 minutes of action against the third-division side. Opare’s size – he stands 6-foot-2—stymied the Blues attack, but the former Michigan Wolverine was just pleased to return to the field.
“It was great to get out of the training room and play with the boys. It’s an exciting moment to play with a new team and get to know other players tendencies and I’m just happy to get out there again,” said Opare. “I feel great, I feel healthy and with time I need to get my fitness and get used to the speed of play especially at the MLS level which is far superior to the college level.”
Although the Blues weren’t MLS standard, Opare felt that he benefited greatly from facing the lower division side before an MLS foe.
“It definitely gives me confidence,” said Opare. “It builds my confidence and it’s great to play with my teammates and gauge their tendencies because it is my first game, but it was great to be out there.”
Opare and the Galaxy will finally take on their first MLS competition of the year on Friday when they meet Western Conference rivals Real Salt Lake.
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com