LA Galaxy Academy U-18’s capture second consecutive division title
CARSON, CA— The LA Galaxy Academy Under-18’s did it again.
For the second consecutive season, the U-18’s won the Southwestern Division in the Western Conference of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy regular season after routing Real So Cal 5-0 at The Home Depot Center’s Track and Field Stadium in the regular season finale on Sunday.
Heading into the weekend, the Galaxy (18-5-4 overall, 58 pts.) were atop the division but level on points with second-place Real Salt Lake-Arizona (18-5-4 overall, 58 pts.). But on Saturday, RSL-Arizona dismantled Arsenal FC 8-2 to leapfrog LA in the standings, forcing the Galaxy to beat Real So Cal on Sunday in order to repeat as division champions. And they did everything but disappoint.
The Galaxy found their rhythm after the opening 10 minutes and began to turn careless passes into genuine scoring opportunities. In the 13th minute, their work rate paid off as forward Justin Dhillon forced a turnover in Real So Cal’s defensive zone. Sebastian Velasquez picked up the loose ball and fired a blistering shot that goalkeeper Nicolas Corti got a hand on but was unable to prevent from hitting the back of the net.
Seven minutes later, the Galaxy doubled their lead when Aaron Lombardi sent in a low cross directly in front of goal that Dhillon easily tapped in from close range with his right foot.
In the second half, the Galaxy came out with every intention of putting the game out of Real So Cal’s reach. Raul Mendiola, who’s recently been training with the first team, entered the game for Velasquez near the hour mark and the midfielder immediately made his presence known by sending a number of dangerous crosses into the box. In the 68th minute, Mendiola finally connected with Dhillon directly in front of goal and the Cal Poly-San Louis Obispo-bound forward sent a powerful header past Corti to score his team-leading 17th goal of the season and make it 3-0 Galaxy.
Moments later, Jaime Villarreal’s nifty footwork on the ball allowed the forward to weave past two defenders before beating a helpless Corti one-on-one with a low shot to lift the Galaxy to a 4-0 lead.
But the LA attack wasn’t through just yet, especially by adding the creative Lucas Da Silva to the mix for Lombardi in the 72nd minute. Villarreal slotted a great pass to an open Da Silva in the middle of the box where Da Silva lobbed the ball over Corti’s for the Galaxy’s fifth and final goal.
With the regular season now over, the Galaxy will shift their focus to the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs, which will be held from June 24-28 at FC Dallas Park in Frisco, Texas. Finals Weeks will be held at Houston’s BBVA Compass Stadium, from July 14-20, for a second consecutive season.