Curt Onalfo says LA Galaxy showing "major progress" with 2017 home opener looming

VENTURA, Calif. – The LA Galaxy bagged their first win of 2017 on Saturday afternoon when they defeated Alashkert FC 2-0 in a closed-door scrimmage at Ventura College.

Giovani dos Santos and Jack McBean provided the goals in opposite halves as Los Angeles controlled the tempo against the reigning Armenian league champions. The victory gives the Galaxy a 1-1-1 record this preseason as they sit less than two weeks away from the start of the regular season campaign.

“There was major progress on our shape on both sides of the ball,” Onalfo told LA Galaxy Insider. "We moved the ball against an opponent that competed real hard. When you’re playing on turf on a narrow field, it becomes more difficult, but I was encouraged by the progress we made from last game.

“Overall, mission accomplished.”

Onalfo’s starting group dominated the first half, stringing together repeated opportunities that were denied by Alashkert goalkeeper Gevorg Kasparov. However, the Galaxy broke through in the 40th minute when João Pedro, who was making his first start of the preseason, found Dos Santos for the finish from the doorstep.

The game opened up in the second half as Onalfo afforded nine of his starters 75 minutes. Just minutes after widespread changes, the Galaxy doubled their lead in the 85th minute when McBean headed a Jose Villarreal cross into the net.

For McBean who was consigned to the bench for the first time this preseason, the goal was an important confidence booster.

“I really focused well this week in training after the Las Vegas match. There’s a lot of good competition up top between myself, Ari [Lassiter], and Jose [Villarreal]. I thought I went out there today and showed well,” McBean said. “The season is in the back of everyone’s mind, and I want to be able to help the team in any capacity that Curt has me.”

With the Home Opener against FC Dallas on March 4 inching closer, Onalfo could not be more pleased with his squad’s growth this preseason.

“With each minute we’re growing. That’s all part of the preseason. If you look at the first group that’s out there, they’ve played 45, 60, and then 75 minutes, and they have not conceded a goal,” Onalfo said. “Now we just have to synchronize better and get more precise in front of the goal because we created some good opportunities. That’s why you play those games because you can assess those things and make a game plan for moving forward.”

Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com