COARSEGOLD, Calif. — The LA Galaxy made waves across the American soccer landscape with the foundation of USL PRO side LA Galaxy II, and on Thursday, all of the hard work will come to fruition when the team plays their inaugural match.
Led by head coach Curt Onalfo, Galaxy II will face the USL Premier Development League side Fresno Fuego at Chukchansi Park in Fresno at 7pm just two weeks after the project was announced.
“We’ve had eight days on the field; this will be our ninth occasion. It’s another step in moving the guys forward in the preseason and really evaluate them because we have to assemble a roster so it has a lot of meanings,” Onalfo told LAGalaxy.com. “Quite frankly, it’s a game where we’re going to be giving a lot of people minutes. We’re not ready to be playing 90 minutes of soccer at this point. We’re ready to play significantly less, but [the game] should be good place to evaluate our players.”
Just who suits up against the Fuego still remains somewhat of a mystery heading into Thursday’s match. There will be a Galaxy Academy presence as Academy forwards Adonis Amaya, Aaron Lombardi, Jaime Villarreal and midfielder – and Fresno native –Elijah Martin received a call to travel with the team to Central California. As for the rest of the squad, Onalfo revealed that he’ll trot out the same mixture of youth and experience that will be seen on Galaxy II’s roster all season long.
“We have seven players here that are 19 or younger that are either Galaxy Academy players or guys that play with our first team like Jack McBean, Oscar Sorto, Raul Mendiola and Kenney Walker,” said Onalfo. “We also have guys that are trying to make our team. It’s that blend that you’ll see when the Galaxy II gets all the players contracted.”
As for the playing style, expect to see the type of attacking 4-4-2 that has been the first team’s hallmark since head coach and general manager Bruce Arena took the reins at the Galaxy in 2009.
“We’re going to as much as we can duplicate what the first team does and be somewhat of a mirror of that,” said Onalfo. “It’s too early to tell [how the team will play] but I’m pleased with the progress, the approach and I think the soccer is getting better each day. Our goal is to move the guys along and move them in the right direction.”
Although Onalfo is well-versed in the significance of Galaxy II’s initial match, he admits that a healthy dose of perspective will be needed when evaluating their inaugural contest.
Said Onalfo, “We all know that this is an important project for the Galaxy, we’re all excited about it. Having said all that, we’re in preseason, we’re going to be evaluating players so it’s a major step in the right direction for us to get to where we want to be when we start the season in six or seven weeks from now.”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com