CARSON, Calif. (Thursday, June 20, 2013) – Midfielder Raul Mendiola and forwards Justin Dhillon and Steve Martinez highlight LA Galaxy U-18 Head Coach Alex Yi’s 20-man roster for the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs, which are behind held at FC Dallas Park in Frisco, Texas June 24-28. Earlier this week, the Galaxy were drawn into Group 6 of the playoffs along with Dallas Texans, New England Revolution and San Jose Earthquakes.
Dhillon finished the regular season with a team-high 17 goals, followed by Mendiola who finished second with 12. Martinez, played most of the year with the U-16’s after completing his junior year at Salesian High School, was one of the nation’s top scorers this season with 18 goals in 20 games. Also on the roster are Willie Raygoza, Vincent Reyes, Ivan Vazquez and Sebastian Velasquez, who along with Dhillon, were a part of the 2010-11 Galaxy team that won the U-16 Development Academy National Championship.
The Galaxy squad will also feature defender Nathan Smith, who’s played in 22 of the team’s 28 games this season, midfielder Brian Iloski, who helped the club finish the regular season with a 6-1-1 record after joining the club on April 6, and goalkeeper Daniil Slepukhin, who has been the U-18’s starting goalkeeper the last three months since stepping in for the injured Josh McNeely.
LA will travel to Frisco, Texas for the Development Academy Playoffs this weekend before opening group play on Monday, June 24 against the San Jose Earthquakes at 7:15 p.m. (PT) The next day, Tuesday, June 25, they will take on the Dallas Texans at 7:30 p.m. before facing the New England Revolution on Thursday, June 27 at 9 a.m. in the third and final group stage game. All games are being played at FC Dallas Park, which is hosting the Group Stage of the Development Academy Playoffs and Showcase from June 24-28.
Once all group games are completed, the eight teams that win their respective groups will advance to Finals Week, which will be held from July 14-20 in Houston with the championship game for the U-18’s being played at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday, July 20.
LA GALAXY U-18’s 2012/13 U.S. SOCCER DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY PLAYOFFS ROSTER:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Daniel Slepukhin, Abraham Romero.
DEFENDERS (7): Cameron Marlow, Jorge Miranda, Manuel Padilla, Vincent Reyes, Juan Reyna, Nathan Smith, Ivan Vazquez.
MIDFIELDERS (5): Hugo Gutierrez, Bryan Guzman, Brian Iloski, Raul Mendiola, William Raygoza.
FORWARDS (6): Lucas Da Silva, Justin Dhillon, Aaron Lombardi, Steve Martinez, Sebastian Velasquez, Jaime Villarreal.
HEAD COACH: Alex Yi
LOOKING AT GROUP 6: After winning their second consecutive Southwest Division championship, the LA Galaxy U-18’s were drawn into Group 6 of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs on Monday. The Galaxy will be joined in Group 6 by the Dallas Texans, New England Revolution and San Jose Earthquakes with the group winner advancing to the Development Academy Finals Week.
The Galaxy U-18’s (19-5-4, 61 pts.) finished the regular season with a convincing 5-0 victory over Real So Cal at home to lock up the team’s second consecutive division title earlier this month. First year head coach Alex Yi had his team playing exceptionally well down the stretch, losing only once during the final 11 games and scoring four or more goals in six of those matches.
But with the regular season now a thing of the past, the U-18’s shift their focus towards the upcoming Academy Playoffs against competition that closed out their respective campaigns just as strongly as the Galaxy, notably the Dallas Texans. The Texans, who finished fourth in the Frontier Division in the Central Conference with a 15-6-6 record (51 pts.), recorded a 5-1-3 record in their final nine games of the season, last losing a game in mid-March. The Texans bring the stingiest defense to the group, having surrendered 30 goals in 27 games and only once did an opponent net three goals against them in a single match. Dallas will certainly need its defense to carry an attack that lacks a double-digit goal scorer. Forward Christian Soldat leads the team with seven while midfielder Alec Petit added six and defender Brandon Aubrey scored five on the year.
The only East Coast academy team joining LA in Group 6 is the New England Revolution. The Revolution U-18’s finished with a 15-5-5 record (50 pts.), enough to claim a third place finish in the Northeast Division of the Eastern Conference. After a rocky start which saw New England yield five goals in back-to-back matches to open the 2012-13 campaign, the team went on an unbeaten run from Oct. 28 thru April 14 which included a string of eight consecutive wins. Once the streak ended with a 5-2 road loss to Met Oval, New England responded by dealing division-rival and the top-seeded New York Red Bulls their only loss of the season with a 4-2 road victory. The Revs closed out the final 10 games of the regular season with a 5-2-3 record including two straight draws on the road in their final two games to clinch a postseason berth. Midfielder Leandro Alves is New England’s leading goal scorer with 10 goals in only 15 games and his goals per game average of 0.67 is tenth best in the East Conference.
LA’s West Conference rival, the San Jose Earthquakes round out Group 6. The Earthquakes have had and up and down season that saw them kick off the campaign with seven wins in their first eight matches, averaging well-over three goals per game, only to then be shutout in three consecutive losses in February. The Galaxy are plenty familiar with San Jose (16-11-1, 49 pts.), who finished fourth in the Northwest Division, having beaten them 4-0 in mid-March up in the Silicon Valley. Forwards Raul Mendiola and Justin Dhillon each scored a pair of first half goals in that game as the Galaxy led 3-0 inside the opening 20 minutes en route to a convincing victory. But San Jose bounced back following the defeat, tallying five wins over the team’s final eight games to solidify a wildcard spot. San Jose’s 62 goals is tops in Group 6 and they have scored four or more goals in six separate matches. The team’s leading scorer is Elisama Padilla whose 15 goals in 24 games are the ninth-best in the Western Conference. Padilla did not play against the Galaxy in March due to a suspension resulting from yellow card accumulation during the year.
LA GALAXY U-16’S TRAVEL TO TEXAS AS WELL: The LA Galaxy U-16’s will travel to Frisco, Texas, to take part in the annual U.S. Soccer Development Academy Showcase, which is being held at FC Dallas Park at the same time as the Development Academy playoffs. The Galaxy will play three games in the Showcase from June 24-28, though the exact dates, times and opponents will be announced later this week. Highlighting the roster of players that will represent the U-16’s are forward Christian Chavez, who finished the regular season second on the team in scoring with nine goals, defender Alex Ramos, who has been part of the U.S. Under-16 program this year, and midfielder Christian Segovia, who is third on the team in games played (26) and games started (23), as well as goalkeeper Bennett Sneddon, who has played in 23 of this season’s 28 games.
U-18 PLAYOFF SCHEDULE
LA Galaxy U-18’s vs. San Jose Earthquakes Monday, June 24
Game will be played at FC Dallas Park – Field 8 at 7:15 p.m. (PT)
LA Galaxy U-18’s vs. Dallas Texans Tuesday, June 25
Game will be played at FC Dallas Park – Field 11 at 7:30 p.m. (PT)
LA Galaxy U-18’s vs. New England Revolution Thursday, June 27
Game will be played at FC Dallas Park – Field 15 at 7 a.m. (PT)
Times and locations for all games are correct as of Thursday, June 20. 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.