CARSON, Calif. – Every game is a lesson for the youngsters with LA Galaxy II, and Wednesday’s 2-1 late game defeat to Ventura County Fusion in the second round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup was no different.
First-half goals by the Fusion’s Matt LaGrassa and Galaxy II forward Ariel Lassiter had the two sides locked in a stalemate and the match seemed destined for extra time.
However, a costly turnover by defender Dave Romney in second-half stoppage time allowed dynamic forward Abu Danladi to scoop up the ball and then blast a shot past Nicholas Shackelford for the game-winner that sent Los Dos out of the tournament at the first hurdle.
“It was our third game in eight days, and we certainly had tired legs but I think that we had a majority of the play, and we’re good enough in front of goal,” Galaxy II head coach Curt Onalfo told LAGalaxy.com. “We didn’t create enough chances and fell short because of it.”
Although LaGrassa gave the Fusion the lead in the 30th minute by capitalizing on a turnover in midfield by the home side, it was Galaxy II who had the better of the play in the physical contest. Throughout the match, Lassiter and fellow attacker Adonis Amaya stretched a Ventura defense that boasted former Galaxy Academy product Javan Torre.
The pair finally combined for a goal in first half stoppage time when Lassiter delivered a picturesque through-ball through to Amaya who was brought down in the penalty area. The Costa Rica native then stepped up and buried his penalty to give Galaxy II their equalizer.
Once the second half began, Los Dos once again enjoyed the run of play with numerous chances that tested the PDL side, but ultimately, it was the Fusion’s ability to capitalize on another error that sent Galaxy II out of the Open Cup.
“It was a little bit of a frustrating match. We were definitely the better side, there’s no question about that. We had two [defensive] lapses, and they put the ball in the back of the net,” said Lassiter. “We needed to take care of business by putting the ball away and getting the win.”
With the defeat, Galaxy II are now on two game losing streak but Lassiter believes that the loss could spur the group on as they prepare to focus solely on climbing up the USL standings.
“We have to get back on the training pitch and work hard. We need to regroup by watching film on our mistakes because we have to fix them,” said Lassiter. “A loss, if you take it wrong can send you on a losing drought but we need to take it in the right way so that we can learn and excel.”