CARSON, Calif. – Last Saturday, injuries to usual starters A.J. DeLaGarza and Todd Dunivant pressed rookies Bryan Gaul and Tommy Meyer into action against Real Salt Lake.
Although the Galaxy fell 2-1 to Salt Lake, eventually falling into the fourth spot in the Western Conference, Gaul and Meyer appeared up to the task going 90 and 85 minutes respectively. Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena was among those pleased with their performance telling reporters after the match that the two rookies “did fine” despite the loss.
But the rookies felt that they could have performed much better in the defeat.
“It comes down to winning the game and we can’t give up two goals,” Meyer told LAGalaxy.com on Tuesday. “As we get more comfortable, whatever happens, we just work on our play every game and not let in those goals and not those little moments slip.”
Staying focused for a complete 90 minutes was Meyer’s main critique of his performance in his second match filling in for the injured A.J. DeLaGarza. Meyer admitted that he must “stay locked in for the whole game” as he looks to continue to develop his partnership with fellow center back Omar Gonzalez.
Meanwhile, Gaul also felt that that he could do more to help the club on both sides of the ball. During the early stages of the match, Gaul was frequently involved in the attack down the left side, but as the match wore on, the rookie struggled to spark attack down the left side.
But one moment stuck out to Gaul above all others, his admittedly “relaxed” defending on the throw-in that led to Fabian Espindola’s eventual game-winning-goal.
“I thought I did a good job, but there are little plays that break down. Like that second goal, we went over it with the coaching staff and it’s something that I have to get used to,” Gaul said. “On the throw In, I was relaxed and I didn’t put pressure on the guy that served it so it’s little things like that I can take from the game.”
Whether or not the two rookies participate in the club’s next match on Oct. 21 against the San Jose Earthquakes remains to be seen, but the young defenders were quick to praise the Reserve League for keeping them fit and ready to contribute.
“If we didn’t have a Reserve League then we wouldn’t have the chance to go out and develop as players,” said Meyer. “We’ve been able to get more confident and comfortable as the season goes on so we were able to step in and do well in those games.”