CARSON, Calif. (Wednesday, June 27, 2012) – The LA Galaxy U-18 team kicked off the club’s participation in the 2012 U.S. Development Soccer Academy Playoffs on Monday with a huge 5-1 win over Vardar SC Freiburg. The U-16’s followed that with a solid performance in a 2-2 draw against the Colorado Rush on Tuesday and a 1-1 draw against D.C. United on Wednesday.
The U.S. Development Soccer Academy playoffs are being held at the FC Dallas Stadium Complex in Frisco, Texas this week, where temperatures are routinely over 100 degrees and games require water breaks.
Despite the weather, the Galaxy U-18’s went up early and kept applying pressure in their first game in group play. Christopher Antunez opened the scoring for LA with a 6th minute strike that gave his team a 1-0 lead. Willie Raygoza made the score 2-0 just 30 minutes later before Jose Villarreal added a pair of strikes five minutes apart in the 39th and 44th minutes, to put his team in front 4-0. Sebastian Velasquez scored his team’s fifth and final goal in the 67th minute before Sean Hazen pulled one back for Vardar SC in the 75th minute to give the game its final scoreline.
The U-18s were back in action on Tuesday night as they fell 1-0 to De Anza Force in the second of their three group games. They controlled most of the game, only to fall behind in the 76th minute when a shot by Max Ornstil, De Anza’s only shot of the game, deflected off of a Galaxy player and past goalkeeper Juan Cervantes. The Galaxy had two breakaway opportunities in the first half. Jose Villarreal had a solid opportunity in the second half that was cleared off the line, but they were unable to find the back of the net and suffered their first defeat in more than a month. To add to the club’s troubles, Galaxy defender Sagar Jambusaria was shown a red card in the 80th minute for dangerous play, leaving his team to play down a man for the game’s final 10 minutes. With their win, De Anza is now on the verge of a berth in Finals Week.
Head coach Eddie Soto’s team is off on Wednesday before facing CASL Chelsea FC in their third and final group game on Thursday. The Galaxy will need to win that game and hope that De Anza draw or lose to Vardar SC in order to advance to Finals Week for the first time.
The Galaxy U-16’s opened their Academy Playoff campaign on Tuesday with a 2-2 draw with the Colorado Rush. Colorado’s Spencer Goldstein struck first in the 5th minute, but LA’s Angel Josue Espana was quick to answer with the equalizer just two minutes later. Jaime Villarreal then gave the Galaxy the lead just before halftime in the 40th minute. LA was holding on to the lead when Colorado’s Eric Morrison leveled the score in the 82nd minute.
The Galaxy are back in action on Wednesday night against D.C. United’s U-16 team, which beat Concorde Fire 3-1 in the group’s other game to take the early lead in the standings. A loss would eliminate the club from the playoffs, with one game to go, while a draw or win would keep them in contention to advance Finals Week heading into their final group game on Friday against Concorde Fire.
The 32-team, eight-group Academy Playoffs will continue until Friday, June 29. The eight group winners advance to the Development Academy Finals Week in Houston, which will be played from July 16-23, with the championship games being played at the brand new BBVA Compass Stadium.
GALAXY U-12 FINISH AS FAR-WEST REGIONALS RUNNER UP: After coming back from a goal down to tie the game at 1-1 in the second half, the LA Galaxy Academy U-12 team lost in the finals of the US Youth Far West Regionals on penalty kicks to Pateadores LA. The match was the third time the two teams had faced each other in this competition, dating back to the finals of the Cal South National Cup, which serves as a qualifying tournament for the regionals, with the Galaxy winning that game 1-0. The second time occurred on the opening day of Regionals, when Pateadores exacted some measure of revenge with a 5-1 win. The Galaxy rebounded from that loss to win their next two games by the score of 10-0 and 5-0 to advance to the Quarterfinals, where they beat Nevada’s Heat FC 4-0. In the Semifinals, the Galaxy beat the Utah Rangers 3-1 to set up an all-LA final. There, Pateadores took an early first half lead only for the Galaxy to equalize before the end of regulation to force penalty kicks, where Pateadores eventually won to be crowned Far West champions.
MUÑOZ SCORES THREE FOR U.S. IN COPA SAPRISSA: LA Galaxy U-16 midfielder Rolando Muñoz has scored a team-high three goals in three games played for the U.S. U-17 National Team at the Copa Saprissa Internacional tournament being played in San Jose, Costa Rica this week. The U.S. has played four games in the tournament, so far, and compiled a 3-0-1 record, with Muñoz scoring goals in each of the three wins. Muñoz, a native of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., started and played the full 70 minutes in the team’s opening game against Linafa, a select team from Costa Rica, scoring the third goal of a 3-0 win. Muñoz was on the bench but did not play in the team’s second game, a 1-1 draw with Honduras. He returned for the following game, scoring scored four minutes after coming on to give the U.S. a 3-1 lead over the host Costa Rica U-17 National Team in the 57th minute as the U.S. claimed a 3-2 win. The Galaxy U-16 captain, Muñoz scored team-high third goal of the tournament in the convincing 6-1 win over Chorrillo FC from Panama.
The remaining schedule for U.S. in the tournament includes a game against Mexico and two possible playoff or friendly matches on June 29 and July 1.
THE WEEK AHEAD
LA Galaxy U-16 vs. D.C. United U-16
Wednesday, June 27
Game will be played at FC Dallas Sports Park – Field 7, in Frisco, TX. at 6:30 p.m.
LA Galaxy U-18 vs. CASL Chelsea FC Academy U-18
Thursday, June 28
Game will be played at FC Dallas Sports Park – Field 12, in Frisco, TX. at 7 a.m.
LA Galaxy U-16 vs. Concord Fire U-16
Friday, June 29
Game will be played at FC Dallas Sports Park – Field 9, in Frisco, TX. at 9 a.m.
Times and locations for all games are correct as of Wednesday, June 27. Click here for the updated Group Standings in the U-16 and U-18 Academy Playoffs. Click here for a complete schedule of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy playoffs. All times included schedule are local time.