CARY, N.C. – LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano offers his Three Points to the LA Galaxy’s U.S. Open Cup Third Round clash with the Carolina RailHawks.
NEW SQUAD READY FOR REVENGE
The LA Galaxy were bounced from the Third Round of the U.S. Open Cup last year by the Carolina RailHawks, but LA are desperate to have their revenge on Wednesday.
Make no mistake, this team is far different than the one that fell 2-1 at WakeMed Soccer Park last year as seven of the 14 players, who took part in the RailHawks game are no longer playing with the club. This Galaxy’s squad will be headlined by their young attacking trio of Charlie Rugg, Jose Villarreal and Gyasi Zardes as well as midfielders Michael Stephens and Robbie Rogers. This young and talented core will face an immense challenge, however, against a RailHawks side that is currently at the top of the NASL.
Expect the Galaxy to come out strong from the get go against their NASL opponents as they look to exert pressure from the start and force the second division side into costly mistakes. With a cavalcade of young attacking talent at LA’s disposal, the Galaxy will have plenty of weapons to exploit any Carolina miscues.
ONALFO TO LEAD THE CLUB
LA Galaxy assistant coach Curt Onalfo will lead the team against the RailHawks on Wednesday with head coach Bruce Arena and associate head coach Dave Sarachan back in Southern California to prepare the first team for Sunday’s match against the New England Revolution.
There might be some hesitation on Onalfo getting the call, but remember is not the first dance for the assistant coach. A former head coach with D.C. United and the then-Kansas City Wizards, Onalfo has coached the Galaxy reserves for the past three seasons. Just last season, Onalfo helped the Galaxy to a title in the MLS Reserve League’s West Division and this year, his team is 1-1-1.
It’s important to note that Onalfo has the support of the players as he prepares to coach the match and success that his reserves have enjoyed. Remember much of Onalfo’s reserves last season were responsible able to help the Galaxy lock down a berth in the 2012/2013 CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinals with a 2-0-1 record in LA’s group stage campaign.
SLOW DOWN RAILHAWKS ATTACKING QUARTET
Onalfo and the Galaxy will face a difficult test in the RailHawks, who have currently lost just one game in their six NASL matches this season.
The RailHawks are led on offense by the NASL’s leading goal scorer Brian Shriver, who has scored five goals in six matches as well as the game-winning-goal in the RailHawks win over LA in 2012., The opportunistic forward is joined in the attack by pacey winger Ty Shipalane—who also scored in Carolina’s win over the Galaxy last year—as well as crafty forward Zack Schilawski. Meanwhile, it is former New York Red Bulls midfielder Austin Da Luz’s job to provide service from the center of the park as his craftiness and pinpoint passes make him an automatic target for pressure from the Galaxy.
The key to stopping Carolina will depend on the Galaxy’s ability to remain compact and organized in defense to prevent the RailHawks from finding any space behind their back four. If LA can limit these opportunities and possibly force a few turnovers then expect several chances for the Galaxy on the counter.
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com