CARSON, Calif. -- Central to the success of the LA Galaxy in the MLS Reserve League has been Reserve League head coach Curt Onalfo.
Talk to any member of the Galaxy Reserves and all have been immensely complimentary of the role that the Galaxy assistant has played in their success. This appreciation was in full effect at the end of LA's 6-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps, which clinched the Reserve League's West Division as the players gave their coach a Gatorade bath.
The Fruit Punch Gatorade drenched Onalfo discusses the importance of the Division title below...
ONALFO: “Any time that you have a game where you need to get a result to win a championship and you come out with that sort of performance, it’s a great thing. It’s a tribute to how hard this group has worked the entire time. We have a very deep roster and this is something that we take this really seriously. I thought we actually started a little bit slow with some nerves, but once we settled down and started playing our game, we took the game to them. I thought our possession was excellent and I thought we created a ton of chances. We scored a great brand of soccer and scored a whole bunch of goals. We’re really pleased with the performance and glad that we won the league.”
(On the role of the Reserve League…)
ONALFO: “There are so many things that the Reserve League represents and that’s the difficult thing to manage as a coach. You have guys that you want to develop so you have times where they’ll play a lot of minutes and make mistakes. You have veterans that sometimes want to play and sometimes don’t want to play so you have to make sure that they’re motivated to play. Then you have a group guys that just want to show—those are the easiest to motivate. And you have guys coming back from injury so you have all these things and you have to look ahead to the future, one week ahead, a couple weeks ahead and down the line. If you look at this game, not only did we want to win it, to win the championship, but we want to get these guys ready to possibly play in El Salvador in a couple weeks. If they’re called upon then we want them to be ready and this is a perfect opportunity for them to show Bruce and the rest of the coaching staff that they belong.”
(On what the Reserve League Division title says about the Academy’s depth…)
ONALFO: “It says a lot. If you look at, we’ve had more than 35 appearances and Home Grown players so that’s what we want to do so it says a lot. Our Academy is growing all the time and there is a huge emphasis since Chris has been in charge of it. My son plays in it so I’m over there a lot. There’s a great correlation and connection with the first team so we’re proud of how that has worked and it’s only getting better.”
(On the play of Pat Noonan…)
ONALFO: “What I told him after the game is to be a sense of calmness for them. Be the brains. That’s what he was. He played a really good game and an intelligent game, scores our first goal and assists on another. He brings leadership poise and composure to the group.”
(On Noonan looking to participate in the playoffs…)
ONALFO: “That’s what his eye is for, he wants to improve his standing and get more playing time. That’s his motivation and to his credit, he takes it with a great attitude and it showed in his performance.”
(On the play of Rafael Garcia…)
ONALFO: “He’s a winner. He’s a hard-working, blue collar guy that can also pass and do some great things with his feet. He’s played in all ten games and always made a difference.”
(On the play of McBean…)
ONALFO: “He’s a goal scorer. He’s the leading scorer of the Reserve League and he’s played less than 300 minutes. This is his [eighth] game in limited minuets, but he always finds a way to score goals. That’s something that you can’t teach, that’s something that you have to keep an eye on and watch them develop. He had a great week of training and in moments are difficult because you have Edson Buddle, who is an older and veteran player is getting the minutes more than jack where there is time that you want Jack to be in there to get those minutes to develop. But those are all a part of the juggle. We want Edson sharp for the playoffs and at the same time, we want Jack to be sharp and continue to develop so I think that it was a win, win getting both of those guys 45 minutes."
(On McBean’s growth…)
ONALFO: "He came to us as a really young 16-year-old…Remember, when you were 16, I do. I remember it like it was yesterday, those were fun times…he’s maturing physically and mentally and that’s all part of his development."