CARSON, Calif. – After playing a series of Reserve League matches as an outside back, LA Galaxy rookie midfielder Rafael Garcia was right at home in the center of the park during LA’s 4-0 CONCACAF Champions League victory over the Puerto Rico Islanders on Wednesday.
Partnered alongside fellow industrious-minded midfielders Michael Stephens and Kenney Walker, the trio out-worked a veteran Puerto Rico group, dominating possession 58.4 to 41.6% on the night. Despite being tested out at outside back earlier in the season, the rookie from Cal-State Northridge did not miss a beat as he repeatedly disrupted Puerto Rico’s attack allowing Stephens and Walker to contribute to the attack.
Following the match, Garcia told reporters that he was pleased to return to the center of the park.
GARCIA: “It felt like home again. Familiar territory, it was good to get out there and run, break a sweat for 90 minutes and credit to all the guys that played tonight. I think they did a great job.”
(On LA’s control of an experienced Puerto Rico midfield…)
GARCIA: “We talked about I think this team playing in the reserve games, our work ethic is second to none. I thought that collectively we defended well, attacked as a unit so, like I said, credit to all the guys that played tonight and they guys that scored.”
(On the taking pride in winning an important game as youngsters…)
GARCIA: “Absolutely, we all want to show that we belong here and that whenever we get called upon we’re ready, so I thought the group was extremely, extremely well tonight in that sense. We’re just looking to make the best of our opportunities, I know myself, I’m just trying to work hard and make a name for myself and I think everyone that stepped on the field today gave 110% today.”