CARSON, Calif. --The Reserve League is an important outlet for young players to hone their craft and LA Galaxy rookie midfielder Rafael Garcia has taken the opportunity and run with it this season.
Garcia tallied a goal and an assist in Friday's 6-0 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps, helping LA clinch the MLS Reserve League's West Division title. The goal and assist brought Garcia's total for the Reserve League season to two goals and an assist 10 appearances, seven of them starts.
On Friday, while working in tandem with midfield partner Kenny Walker, Garcia helped control possession throughout the match, limiting Vancouver to just a pair of decent scoring opportunties over 90 minutes. Throughout the game, Garcia was a danger going forward as well as he helped assist on Pat Noonan's opening goal before tallying one of his own in the 63rd.
Below Garcia discusses the importance of LA's Reserve League win...
GARCIA: “I think that winning mentality of this team has improved throughout the season. This Reserve League was a good learning experience for the young guys as well as myself. The message that we put out there is that we want to compete and we want to play and we’re definitely going to push for minutes with the first team. For us, it’s huge to finish the Reserve League with this big win so now I think that we have to move forward and keep doing what we’re doing and keep improving. But most importantly, help the first team because it’s playoff time so whatever we can do to get this team ready for playoffs, we’ll do it.”
(On the win being a confidence booster ahead of CCL match against Metapán…)
“Absolutely, we know that it’s not going there to go play, we’re obviously going in there to get a result. For me, it’s important because I think that this team has gotten six games for the last six times. It’s a good team, everyone is hungry and everyone wants to show that they belong here. I think that we’ll just go out there to Metpn and give our best effort, but obviously, we’re going out there to get a W."
(On the play of the Galaxy’s veterans – like Pat Noonan-- in the Reserve team’s success…)
GARCIA: “[Noonan] just makes everything so much easier. You got the guys that are work horses that are like little bunnies that run around. Then you’ve got someone like Pat that just wants to make everything so much easier and simple. That run that he made on his first goal, I don’t think that anybody could have made that run but Pat. Playing guys like that as well as Edson, Andy in the back and it makes our job easier. Their leadership helps a lot as well.”