German Alegria / LA Galaxy

Academy U-18's battle for second consecutive division title Sunday vs Real So Cal

CARSON, Calif. (Thursday, May 30, 2013) – With a Southwest Division title at stake, the LA Galaxy U-18’s will close out the U.S. Soccer Development Academy regular season on Sunday at The Home Depot Center Track and Field Facility at 10 a.m. against Real So Cal.

Playoffs are a certainty for both sides but a win for LA would solidify their second consecutive regular season division title. The Galaxy are currently level on points with Real Salt Lake-Arizona, each having tallied 58 points on the season, but LA’s plus-41 goal-differential tops RSL-Arizona’s plus-32. Even though Real So Cal only trails RSL-Arizona by three points in the standings, a win would only guarantee the visitors lock up the top wildcard spot since the team’s goal-differential is a weaker plus-19. RSL-Arizona hosts Arsenal FC on Saturday at 11 a.m.

While the Galaxy look to rebound from the 2-1 defeat to local rivals Chivas USA in their last outing, Real So Cal is coming off a 3-0 win over Arsenal FC at home. Despite the loss at home to Chivas, the Galaxy have not lost consecutive home games all season. Coincidently, Real So Cal has been in a recent road slump with only one win in their last four away games.

The Galaxy and Real So Cal last met in early February with Real So Cal emerging with a 1-0 victory thanks to a Mark Verso goal in the 81st minute. The Galaxy did not have Justin Dhillon available for the February meeting between the two sides and there’s a possibility he could prove to be the difference maker this time around. Dhillon, who played in the Galaxy’s most recent Reserve League match against the L.A. Blues on May 7, leads the team with 15 goals in 21 games.

At the other end of the field, the Galaxy defense, which will once again be led by UCLA-bound defender Nathan Smith, will be busy with the Real So Cal’s forward pairing of Verso, who has scored in each of his last three games and Steve Manios. The duo has combined for 26 goals so far this year with Verso tallying 15 times and Manios adding 11.

Following Sunday’s regular season finale, the Galaxy will shift their focus to the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs, which will be held from June 24-28 at FC Dallas Park in Frisco, Texas.

STEVE MARTINEZ AND U-16’S AIM TO END ON A HIGH – The LA Galaxy U-16’s regular season will come to a close on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. when Real So Cal travels to The Home Depot Center Track and Field Facility.

With playoffs out of the picture, the Galaxy will look to put an end to their current three-game losing streak against a Real So Cal side that’s destined for a wildcard playoff position despite dropping four-straight matches. During Real So Cal’s four-game slump, the team has only been able to manage a single score.

Despite his team’s struggles, forward Steve Martinez has shined throughout the 2012-13 campaign. Martinez sits fourth in the Development Academy in scoring, tallying 18 goals in 19 games with the U-16’s. He is expected to be joined up front on Sunday by Christian Chavez, who is second on the team with nine goals, and Haji Wright, who recently returned from playing with the U.S. Under-15 National Team at the Delle Naziono Tournament.

The two sides last played in early February when Rolando Muñoz, Christian Chavez and Taylor Takada each scored in a thrilling 3-3 draw. Eric Calvillo tallied a brace for Real So Cal with Carlos Gonzalez tacking on the third. The Galaxy are currently seventh in the Southwest Division standings with a 7-12-8 record and 29 points while Real So Cal rests in third with a 16-8-3 record for 51 points.

THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE                               

LA Galaxy U-18’s vs. Real So Cal                                                                                 
Sunday, June 2

Game will be played at The Home Depot Center – Track and Field Facility at 10 a.m.

LA Galaxy U-16’s vs. Real So Cal                                                                                  
Sunday, June 2

Game will be played at The Home Depot Center – Track and Field Facility at 12:30 p.m.

Times and locations for all games are correct as of Thursday, May 30. Click here for a complete schedule of games in the Southern California Development Soccer League and U.S. Soccer Development Academy, which includes the Galaxy Academy’s U-16 and U-18 teams.