As a tune-up for the upcoming season, the LA Galaxy participated in the Generation adidas Cup held in Seattle earlier this month. Both teams had a strong showing, but it was the U-15’s that enjoyed the most success going 3-1-1 and finishing in third place in their group.
The U-17’s finished in sixth place out of 14 teams, following a 3-1 loss to the Chicago Fire in the fifth place game.
“The GA Cup for this younger age group really was about the bigger picture, of course it would have been nice to win it but over the course of the week I felt the team played some of the best soccer at the event,” said Craig Harrington, head coach of the Galaxy U-15 team. “The experience our younger players got from being exposed to this event and the long trip away is crucial in their development. We have seen in the past and with last year’s players on this team that they come back to Southern California as much stronger players.”
The Galaxy U-15’s opened the tournament with a 2-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union with both goals coming on impressive strikes. Elan Koenig opened the scoring with a long range shot into the top corner of the net and team captain Adrian Vera added to the lead by scoring on a free kick.
The second day of action saw LA come away with a narrow 2-1 victory over the Colorado Rapids. After Ether Bustos got the U-15’s on the score sheet, Dylan Bielanski headed home the winner in the game’s final minutes.
Winning the first two games meant that LA only needed a draw against their third opponent, the Fire, to advance to the tournament semifinals. Michael Lopez gave the Galaxy the lead with a strike from the top of the box, but the Fire came back to equalize on a headed goal and the game ended 1-1. Even though that point sent LA through to the semifinals, all GA Cup matches ending in a draw go straight to penalties, where the Galaxy came out victorious by a 4-2 margin.
In the semifinals, LA faced Toronto FC in a very even match. The U-15’s did themselves no favors, going down to nine men in the second half before losing 1-0. In the third-place match, LA once again faced the Fire and came out of the tight match victorious. A chipped goal by Elmer Guerra, one of the youngest players on the trip, gave LA a 1-0 victory and a 3-1-1 overall record in the tournament.
The U-17’s started out the tournament on a positive note, coming from behind to beat Toronto FC 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in regulation. They followed that performance with an impressive 4-0 win over D.C. United in the second game. But with a berth in the semifinals on the line in the third and final group game, the Galaxy lost to FC Dallas on penalties after tying 3-3 over 90 minutes.
Still stinging from their loss to Dallas, the Galaxy beat New York 4-1 in their first match in the knockout stages to advance to the fifth place match, where they lost to Chicago to finish out the tournament with a record of 2-1-2.