The LA Galaxy II couldn’t have asked for a better beginning.
LA Galaxy’s new USL PRO side squared off against the recently-renamed Orange County Blues for their inaugural game. It was Charlie Rugg who tallied the first goal for the squad, and “Los Dos” went on to put up two more, for a solid 3-1 win.
Credit for that 40th minute goal goes to a beautiful overlap by Rafael Garcia. He started the play that gave him a good look on goal. The Blues’ keeper, McLain, did well to save the first shot — but he wasn’t even up off the ground before Rugg fired a one-touch rocket into the back of the net.
“It was a good chance in the box and it just came out right to me. I had another chance earlier that I kind of rushed and it cost me — so I just wanted to take my time, keep focused on my technique, and it worked out.”
The final minutes of the half saw two more goals in rapid succession, sending LA into the locker rooms with a 2-1 lead. Kenney Walker turned another McLain save — this time blocking a blast from Rugg — into a second point for Los Dos.
I just played it forward and continued following the ball forward — and then luckily it popped right back to me as I crashed into the box. It came fast, but it was quite easy at the end of it.
It wasn’t the last goal he’d have a hand in. Walker took a corner in the 55th minute and placed it right on top of defender Daniel Steres, who skillfully headed it home to give Los Dos the lead they’d leave with, 3-1.
For now the stars of LAII — like Walker, and Rugg — are familiar names. One of the aims of this team is providing a place for players like them to develop, to hone their skills before shuttling them up to the main team. In that respect, LA’s USL PRO experiment is off to a great start.
But for LA Galaxy II to truly succeed it needs to be a place where the names aren’t familiar; an arena where homegrown players can flourish, find their talent, and grow into the MLS stars of tomorrow. It’ll take time — years, even — before we know whether or not Los Dos will pay off.
For now LAII can be happy with a win. They’ll look to build on this momentum Saturday, when they take on Sacramento Republic FC at home.