CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy need a lift during their match against FC Dallas and coming off the bench, forward Jose Villarreal provided just that.
Coming on in the 59th minute for Hector Jimenez, Villarreal made an impact just moments later in the 66th minute of play. After dispossessing Dallas defender Matt Hedges, the 18-year-old was able to out-maneuver goalkeeper Kevin Hartman before firing a pinpoint cross to Juninho for the game's first goal and his first career MLS assist. The career milestone came with three members of his family, his father, mother and his younger brother Jaime--a Galaxy youth product--all looking on from the stands.
Following the match, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena was full of compliments for the 18-year-old describing his 31 minute shift as "outstanding" , but Arena wasn't the only one to take notice as FC Dallas' head coach Schellas Hyndman offered his own assessment.
"He’s very active. He’s got a desire to get forward," said the FCD head coach. "They’ve got him playing I think a little bit more simple and he brought a lot of energy, and at that point in time, were trying to get a goal. It makes it a little easier for players like him."
Below are Villarreal's thoughts on his performance...
(On the assist…)
VILLARREAL: "The defender was caught sleeping and I managed to pressure him pretty hard and it bounced off my foot and I took a touch right by the keeper and I saw Juninho in the open and I just passed it him."
(On beating Hartman…)
VILLARREAL: "It’s kind of natural as a forward, your mentality is when the keeper comes out take a touch right by him and I took a good touch and finished off the play with Juninho...As soon as I took the touch right by the keeper, I saw Juninho running in so I just passed it to him."
(On his secret to always creating a spark...)
VILLARREAL: "It’s no secret, just working hard every day in practice and when Bruce gives me the chance to play just do my thing and try to help out as much as possible."
(On expanded role this week potentially with Keane suspended for CCL and Donovan still injured...)
VILLARREAL: "We’ll just have to see what Bruce does, but it’s unfortunate about Landon and Robbie, they’re two players that we need out there on the field but if they’re not available then other players need to step up and do the work."
(Feeling more comfortable with the team and belonging with them...)
VILLARREAL: "Yeah, my teammates are always in the back of me and supporting me and that makes me a lot more comfortable when I step on the pitch and I’m able to do what I do best and help out the team...I always felt like I belonged here. I grew up here, I always came to watch the games when I was small so now that I have a chance to play here and I think I belong here."