CARSON, Calif. –During the LA Galaxy’s 7-2 preseason scrimmage victory over UCLA on Wednesday, two of the club’s brightest attacking stars showed why they could be valuable contributors in 2013.
Homegrown forward Jack McBean (three assists) and 2013 MLS SuperDraft first round pick Charlie Rugg (two goals) were among the most productive on Wednesday in the club’s fourth preseason fixture of the year.
McBean earned the start in place of forward Robbie Keane, who is currently in Ireland after a death in the family. The match offered an opportunity for McBean not only to get a start alongside Mike Magee, but also a chance to play against former Academy teammates Grady Howe and Reed Williams.
During his 57 minute appearance, McBean’s physical presence up top was vital as he provided assists on goals by Michael Stephens, Sean Franklin and Hector Jimenez.
“It was good to get the start and play with [the starters],” McBean told reporters. “I thought that I did okay, but I thought I could hold the ball up a bit better. It’s good to produce something whether it’s a goal or an assist and it’s good for me.”
In the 57th minute, McBean gave way for Rugg, who was making his preseason debut just two days after returning to the training field. Showing no ill effects of the lingering groin injury that has plagued him for nearly two months, Rugg was dynamic alongside fellow rookie Andy Riemer and created several scoring opportunities.
Rugg notched his first goal of the game in the 64th minute, heading a Hector Jimenez corner kick past UCLA goalkeeper Juan Cervantes, a member of the LA Galaxy Academy U-18’s last year. Three minutes later, the rookie from Boston College scored again on another cross from Gaul that he nodded into the net.
“It’s great to be back playing again,” said Rugg. “I could have had a couple more, but that’s what I do, I create chances and I put them away. I felt pretty good and I’m pleased with my fitness, my touch has a ways to go, but I felt pretty good.”
After his club struggled to generate offense in their 1-0 defeat to Real Salt Lake last Friday, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena admitted that the spirits were up across the side—in part due to the youngster’s contributions.
“Last Friday, our entire group didn’t do a good job; it was a little bit better today,” said Arena. “Obviously [it was] a different kind of opponent, but the attitude and the approach was better than on Friday.”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com