CARY, N.C. – Schedule congestion and two important matches have the LA Galaxy splitting their efforts in a busy week.
LA Galaxy assistant coach Curt Onalfo, who also coaches the club’s reserve squad, confirmed to reporters following the team’s training session in Cary, N.C. that he will serve as the club’s coach for their U.S. Open Cup Third Round match against the Carolina RailHawks.
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena and associate head coach Dave Sarachan will remain in Southern California to prepare the rest of the squad for the match against the New England Revolution on Sunday. Onalfo has led the club in the MLS Reserve League for the past three years and is quick to deflect any attention on the coach, declaring that the Open Cup match is a major opportunity for his squad.
“It’s not about me. It’s all about our players; it’s an opportunity for these guys as it always is when this group of players step on the field. It’s their opportunity to step up the ladder,” Onalfo told reporters following the club’s 75-minute training session on Tuesday. “It’s their opportunity to make a better situation for their career. We’re well prepared, we know how to go into the game and it’s just a matter of stepping onto the field and executing the plan.
“Of course, anytime you have an opportunity to lead a group of men then it’s a good thing, but this is Bruce’s team and I’ve been asked to get these guys prepared and do whatever we can to get the result.”
The makeup of the team that will take on RailHawks is much like those Reserve League squads that Onalfo has had extensive experience in leading, but headlined by young attackers Gyasi Zardes and Jose Villarreal as well as midfielder Robbie Rogers.
And those men that he’ll be leading out onto the pitch at WakeMed Soccer Park have the utmost confidence in Onalfo to lead them to get the team out of Carolina with a win.
“Curt is a great coach. He led us to the championship in the [West Division] championship in the Reserve League last year. He takes his job very seriously,” said Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Rowe. “He puts a lot of time into studying the other team and what we need to do to get the job done. I think he’s looking forward to taking the opportunity and we’ll go forward from there.”
“We feel completely comfortable with him. He’s coached us last year and this year [in Reserve League]. There’s really no excuse,” added midfielder Rafael Garcia, who came on as a second half substitute against the RailHawks in last year’s Open Cup. “We’re here to do a job [because] our main focus is to do a job and that’s what we’ll try to do.”
As for any question on whether the Galaxy is falling to take their U.S. Open Cup clash seriously, Onalfo has some choice words for any detractors.
“I would say that if you asked any of the players’ right here, I think that this is the most important game that they’re playing this week. We’re ready to look forward to it. Our guys, we take it seriously,” said Onalfo. “We have 30 players on our roster. We have to bring everybody along. We have a Reserve League that has ten games and this is an opportunity for these guys now.
“If we can advance then we’ll see what happens in the next game, maybe they get an opportunity or maybe they don’t,” Onalfo asserted. “We win with 30 players and we lose with 30 players so we’re taking it very seriously. I know that I am.”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com