CARSON, Calif. (Wednesday, July 9, 2014) – The LA Galaxy Academy Under-16 team pulled off a thrilling 5-3 victory against Vardar Under-16 in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs knockout quarterfinal at StubHub Center’s Track & Field Stadium on Tuesday evening.
LA Galaxy U-16’s Ethan Zubak and Rey Ortiz each scored a brace while Dylan Smith rounded out the scoring to give LA a 5-3 victory over the Michigan-based youth club. With the win, the Galaxy Academy U-16’s will now advance to Finals Week at StubHub Center on July 17-19.
Zubak scored two excellent first half goals to give the Galaxy U-16’s a 2-0 lead going into the break, but in the second half, LA found themselves trailing 3-2 after three quick goals by Vardar. In the 49th minute, Vardar U-16’s Alex Ofeimu pulled a goal back, and forward Tommy Dokho followed with two quick goals in the 53rd and 56th minute to give the visitors the lead.
Vardar’s 2-3 lead did not last long however as Ortiz grabbed an equalizer in the 59th minute to tie the game at 3-3. The midfielder added his second of the night to put the Galaxy U-16’s ahead for good with a spectacular solo effort in the 67th minute.
The U-16’s added their fifth and final goal in the closing minutes of the game when Dylan Smith finished off a lightning quick Galaxy counter attack to give LA a 5-3 win over Vardar.
The LA Galaxy U-16’s will now move onto the Academy Finals Week to be played at StubHub Center from July 17-19. The Finals Week schedule will be announced in the coming days.
HOW THEY GOT HERE: The LA Galaxy Under-16 team finished undefeated and on top of Group D of the 2013-14 U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs after earning an impressive 3-0-0 record and advancing to play a knockout quarterfinal matchup on July 8 against Michigan’s Vadar U-16 squad at StubHub Center.
The LA Galaxy Academy U-16 opened their Academy Playoff run by taking down the Sockers FC U-16 with a 4-1 win at Grand Park Sports Campus in Westfield, Indiana on June 24. Galaxy U-16 midfielder Rey Ortiz found the net in the 19th minute to grab the initial lead for the Galaxy U-16’s. In the 52nd minute, Sockers FC buried an equalizer, but less than five minutes later, Galaxy U-16 forward Dylan Smith’s goal regained Galaxy’s lead. In the 59th minute, Ortiz completed his brace and defender Alex Ramos added the final goal to seal LA Galaxy U-16’s 4-1 victory.
The Galaxy Academy U-16’s played their second group stage match of the USSDA Academy Playoffs against Concorde Fire on June 25 as goals by Smith, Ramos and Ortiz propelled the Galaxy U-16’s to a 3-0 win. In their third and final game of the group stage on June 27, a 1-0 result against D.C. United U-16 secured qualification to the next round. As the top finisher in Group D with 9 points, Galaxy U-16 was set to host the quarterfinal matchup against Vadar on July 8 at StubHub Cente