Carson, CA – Ariel Lassiter continues to live up to that “Goal Puppy” nickname. Lassiter scored twice for LA Galaxy II in their USL season opener as the lower division LA Galaxy side ran away from an overmatched Arizona United SC at StubHub Center on Saturday night despite playing shorthanded for the last 28 minutes of the game.
Lassiter scored his first goal of the night in the 10th minute when he was taken down inside the box after a through-ball found him rounding Arizona’s ‘keeper. The penalty was easily called and Lassiter stepped up to give Los Dos the early lead.
Then in the 30th minute, a long ball from Rafael Garcia, unlocked both Lassiter and LA forward Denzil Slager. Slager decided to leave the ball for Lassiter who fired into the net for goal number two.
“I felt pretty good. I always want to get on the field and score goals and thats what I ended up doing. The team did very well throughout the 90 minutes. Unlucky with the red card early in the second half and it was a real team effort all the way to the very end.” Ariel Lassiter, LA Galaxy / LA Galaxy II Striker
It was almost another goal as just minute later Lassiter again found himself taking on Arizona United SC’s Woszczynski. But this time the strong right hand of the goalie kept Arizona in the game.
Things turned against the LA Galaxy in the 62nd minute when Oscar Sorto was handed a red card at the top of the Galaxy II’s box. It was a clear denial of goal scoring opportunity but at first it looked like the referee didn’t see it. Perhaps aided by the giant replay screen, and his sideline assistant, the yellow card was put back into the referees pocket and LA were forced to play down a man for the remainder of the match.
“I thought we started the game well. Put them (Arizona) under a lot of pressure. We had a very fast team on the field. I thought they fouled the crap out of us. We put ourselves up 2-0. I would’ve liked to get the third because I think we could’ve just made it a little easier on ourselves. But inevitably, when you have young players, it’s never easy.” Curt Onalfo, LA Galaxy II Head Coach
Despite being down a man in the second half Ariel Lassiter wasn’t the only LA Galaxy II player to play well on the night as a whole. Jack McBean did work on both sides of the ball. McBean was the focus of the Arizona United defense. McBean was pulled, dragged down, punched, and grabbed throughout the night. And only on a rare occasion did the referee blow the whistle in his defense.
“I think Jack (McBean) is a huge key. And he leads by example as a captain for the team. And he does the roll, and he does the dirty work, and he really holds up play and he allows me to get space underneath and in behind him.” Ariel Lassiter, LA Galaxy / LA Galaxy II Striker
Denzil Slager also had a stellar night as the three forward pairing of McBean, Lassiter, and Slager drove Arizona crazy for most of the night, when at full strength. Slager is extremely fast and will really benefit from the hold up play that McBean has been showing and from expertly placed passes from Rafael Garcia in the midfield.
The LA Galaxy II defense should also get the nod as they limited attacking efforts by United on the night. Dave Romney and Nate Smith had particularly good nights and Clement Diop did what he needed to in goal.
Besides the red card it was probably a satisfactory night for Curt Onalfo and the rest of this young “Los Dos” team. But this game definitely leaves much for LA Galaxy II to work on.