CARSON, Calif. – It wasn’t always pretty, but LA Galaxy II remained undefeated after a late goal by Chandler Hoffman saved a point for LA in a 1-1 draw with Sacramento Republic FC.
Hoffman, who had been loaned to the Galaxy’s USL PRO affiliate a day earlier, entered in the second half with LA down a goal after former MLS striker Justin Braun put the Northern Californians ahead in the first half. Despite limited chances, Hoffman buried his lone effort of the evening after Raul Mendiola shimmied past several defenders before finding the 23-year-old forward for the equalizer.
“We caught them on the break, I saw Raul play the ball to me and the defender over-commit, so I made a little cut back and put it away,” Hoffman told LAGalaxy.com after the match. “We had a couple of chances in the first half that we should have put away, but after going down a goal and being able to find a way to get a result was important.”
While Galaxy II earned their fourth point of their campaign, it was a hard-fought match that featured four cautions on the night as the LA’s USL PRO affiliate struggled to breakdown the tactically organized Sacramento side managed by longtime MLS head coach Preki. Playing in their inaugural match, Sacramento broke up the flow of the game through tactical fouling as they worked to slow down a Galaxy II side that made quick work of the Orange County Blues just a week earlier.
After forcing Sacramento goalkeeper Jake Gleeson to make five saves in the first half, Sacramento pulled ahead on Justin Braun’s finish in 33rd minute, which led Preki’s side to drop back even deeper as they looked to hold onto their lead. Although Hoffman eventually rescued a point, Galaxy II head coach Curt Onalfo expects teams to resort to similar tactics against Los Dos as the USL PRO regular season continues.
“We have to solve how to deal with these situations better. When I tell the guys to make the game fast, it doesn’t mean to make it hectic, it means that we need to play quickly and make quicker decisions,” said Onalfo. “Those are all easy season things to work through, so it could have been worse. We could have lost the game, but we found a way to get a point and we need to use that as a springboard to learn from and move forward as a group.”
“I’m happy with the way that our team bounced back, we never put our heads down,” Added Galaxy II captain Rafael Garcia. “We simply kept fighting and at the end, got a great goal from Chandler. This result just shows that this team has character.”
Heading into the club’s next contest against yet another first-year team in Oklahoma City Energy FC, Hoffman admits that he’d relish the opportunity to play in more Galaxy II matches as he keeps a well-trained eye on appearing for LA’s first team.
“It’s huge for me. Instead of just playing 10 reserve games like I did last year, they play a full season. Hopefully they can implement me and find a way to get me minutes,” said Hoffman. “It’s a great way to show what I can do, the more that I can get on the field the more dangerous that I can be.”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com