CARSON, Calif. – Landon Donovan said it best, the inaugural “White vs. Blue” game between the LA Galaxy and LA Galaxy II was a “win-win for everybody.”
The Galaxy first team defeated their USLPRO counterparts 3-0 thanks to a brace from Robbie Keane and a goal by Samuel in front of a boisterous crowd at StubHub Center.
Saturday’s match served a valuable purpose for both sides as it allowed Bruce Arena’s group to move forward in their preseason preparations for the season opener against Real Salt Lake on March 8 while Galaxy II received a first-hand look at what it takes to compete at the MLS level.
“We were pretty aware of what we were trying to get out of the game, but I thought [LA Galaxy II] played very well,” said Arena. “I was very impressed with them. [Galaxy II head coach Curt Onalfo] has a good group to build a team from.
“We were okay on the night. It wasn’t anything great,” Arena added. “We weren’t as sharp as we needed to be due to some mental lapses. We could have been better; I thought they did better than us tonight.”
The first team’s dominance was spearheaded by the play of Keane who started and went 70 minutes in the victory. A threat from the opening whistle, Keane needed just two minutes to find the back of the net after launching a ball from nearly 40 yards that caught Galaxy II goalkeeper Cody Laurendi way off his line. Looking ever sharper, LA’s captain tallied again in the 24th minute and set up Samuel’s 68th minute goal with a dicing run through the defense.
Following his brace, it was no shock that the Irishman was all smiles.
“Tonight I felt very strong. I felt as though I could have played longer, but we had to stick to the schedule. It was a good run out for me today,” said Keane. “ [Meanwhile] for these younger players [with LA Galaxy II], it’s a bit of a learning curve for them, but I thought that they did very well, especially when you think that [LA Galaxy Technical Director Jovan Kirovski] put this team together in the last month or so.”
On the other side of the field, Galaxy II repeatedly tested their parent club with several dangerous opportunities that were spearheaded by Galaxy Homegrown Players Raul Mendiola and Jack McBean. It wasn’t just the Galaxy Homegrowns that were dangerous however as newcomers Travis Bowen and Max Griffin each had chances to put one on the board, but were unable to find the back of the net.
Although the result wasn’t a victory, Onalfo was overjoyed with the test that his group received in just their second ever match.
“The game was awesome. We had great fan support which was really fun to see. I was just disappointed that we couldn’t give the fans a goal or two so we could have made it a closer game on the scoresheet,” Onalfo told LAGalaxy.com. “I think that they saw two good teams playing, but it would have been nicer to have a goal. It’s a great step in the right direction for our club and something that we’re going to look forward to every year.”
And Onalfo isn’t alone in that sentiment.
“I think that it was great. Hopefully it becomes a real fun tradition. It’s great for those guys and it’s great for our fans,” said Donovan.
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com