DALLAS— Heading into the third and final day of Group Stage games at the 34th Annual Dallas Cup, the LA Galaxy Academy still have a shot at making it to the semifinals, but it’s a long one.
However, there is a common theme in all of the different scenarios: A Galaxy victory.
Before the Galaxy can even start checking the results of other games, they need to beat Coritiba FC of Brazil at 2p.m. (PT) on Wednesday afternoon at Richland College.
The Gordon Jago Super Group semifinals will be made up of the three group winner and the best second place team in the tournament. The Galaxy (1-1-0) can either advance as a group winner if they beat Coritiba (1-1-0) and Fulham FC (2-0-0) loses to Eintracht Frankfurt of Germany (0-2-0), and end up with a better goal-difference than Fulham, or as the top second place team between the three groups. Aalborg BK of Denmark (1-0-1), and Fluminense FC of Brazil (1-0-1) are tied atop Bracket C with four points each while Kashiwa Reysol of Japan (2-0-0) and Manchester United of England (2-0-0) are tied atop Bracket A ahead of their game on Wednesday. Aalborg and Fluminense can each eliminate the Galaxy with a win while a draw between Kashiwa and United would also eliminate LA, regardless of their result.
It may seem impossible, but stranger things have happened.
OFF DAY ACTIVITES: Not wanting to train in the cold or having to battle the winds that have swept through North Texas, Galaxy Academy head coach Alex Yi, who played for FC Dallas from 2005-08, reached out to Ryan Godfrey at Paradigm Soccer Performance to see if the Galaxy could use his facilities, which happened to be about a mile away from the team hotel.
Half the team trained on one of the facilities futsal courts while the rest used the gym to get some fitness work in ahead of Wednesday’s all important finale.
“The facilities were great,” said Yi. “Paradigm offered exactly what we needed as we had one group who needed to work on fitness and another who we wanted to get some soccer work in.”
After the training session, the team had lunch at a local Texas burrito establishment and headed off to the movies. Some players opted for “Spring Breakers” while a few decided to see the new Gerard Butler action-movie, “Olympus Has Fallen.”
U-20 WOLRD CUP DRAW: Last month, LA Galaxy Academy defender Javan Torre helped the U.S. Under-20 National Team qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey. On Monday, he found out who the U.S. will face in the Group Stage: France, Spain and a team from the Confederation of African Football, which is still going through their qualification process.
Was he happy to be placed in what many are already calling the Group of Death?
“It’s going to be difficult, that’s for sure,” said Torre, who is a freshman at UCLA and is playing with the Galaxy at Dallas Cup as guest player. “Playing to of the top teams in the tournament, it’ll be a good test for our group to see if we really deserve to advance into the next stage. I look forward to playing Spain and France.”
The U.S. will open tournament play against Spain on June 21. Their second game will be against France on June 24 and finish up the group stage against the team from the African confederation.
U.S. VS. MEXICO: Even with Wednesday’s big game ahead of them, the players were still very interested in Tuesday night’s CONCACAF World Cup Qualifier between the U.S. and Mexico. Most of the team was cheering for the U.S., but there are some players that are cheering for El Tri.
“It’s difficult for me to pick a team because I play in the U.S. but my background is Mexican,” said forward Jaime Villarreal before the game. “But I think Mexico will win.”
However, the majority are pulling for the Stars and Stripes.
“There’s a lot of energy, even around here at Dallas Cup, for this game,” said Arriola, who is one of a handful of Galaxy Academy players that have played for a U.S. Youth National Team. “Mexican fans are obviously going to be cheering for Mexico and the U.S. fans are going to be for the U.S., but I love it. It’s going to be a good game.”
Because the game kicked off at 9:30 p.m. local time, the players all chose to watch it in their hotel rooms.