CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy Under-16's advanced to the Developmental Academy Finals Week with a 4-2 victory over Michigan-based youth club Vardar on Tuesday in their U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy Playoffs quarterfinal at the StubHub Center Track and Field Stadium.
Ethan Zubak and Rey Ortiz each tallied a brace while Dylan Smith rounded out the scoring in the come-from-behind victory. Zubak scored twice in the first half to put LA ahead, but Vardar clawed their way back into the game and took the lead with three goals at the start of the second half before goals by Ortiz and Smith sealed the win for the Galaxy U-16's.
LA will now participate in the Developmental Academy Finals Week which will be held at StubHub Center at July 17-19.
"It was a fantastic result for the boys because they've worked for 11 months for this moment," Galaxy U-16 head coach Mike Munoz told LA Galaxy Insider. "We knew that Vardar was going to be extremely difficult and they're a team that never gifts up. We lost ourselves for the first 20 minutes of the second half and were punished, but credit to my guys because they found a way to fight back from that. I'm really happy with the way that things turned out, but at the same time, we're going to have to be better going forward."
While there may still be things to work on, Munoz is confident that his Under-16 team can compete for a title during Finals Week.
"It's not easy to get here to be the one of the final four teams in the country," said Munoz. "This is an achievement in itself, but one of our goals is to be national champions and there are still two matches to get there. It's so far so good but we've got another week of training to prepare us and then we need to get after it."