Photo courtesy LA Galaxy II
CARSON, Calif. – Prior to Saturday’s opening game of the 2017 USL season, and his first as the LA Galaxy II’s Head Coach, Mike Muñoz described the contest with Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 as the start of a new era for Los Dos.
After a 2-0 victory at the StubHub Center Track and Field Stadium that saw new and returning faces all play a role, though, the new era had a very familiar look to it.
“I’m very proud of the guys,” said Muñoz. “I thought that there were very good moments where we stuck to the game plan. … I thought we did a good job of eliminating [Vancouver’s] Debyi Flores, who was the key guy in the first half. And obviously we scored a key goal in a good moment for us. And I think once we got that second goal, it started to relax us and we settled down a little bit and we were able to see it out.”
Los Dos got out to an ideal start thanks to a major error at the back by WFC2. A long ball forward by Baggio Husidic in search of Ethan Zubak caught both Vancouver defender Sem de Wit and goalkeeper Spencer Richey in two minds, leaving Spencer unable to corral a deflection off de Wit that resulted in an own goal.
The tally set the Galaxy II up to use their speed on the counter-attack, as both forward Zubak and Adonis Amaya and winger Bradford Jamieson IV looked dangerous when they got into open play. WFC2 had the better of possession, but until the closing stages when down by two goals didn’t look a major threat to find the net.
The Galaxy II, by contrast, saw Jamieson and Adrian Vera – a first-half substitute for an injured Miguel Aguilar – show more of a cutting edge, and it was 2016 USL 20 Under 20 selection Jamieson who provided the incisiveness that led to the second goal. With a sharp move in the box he left Jacob Nerwinski, and his low cross found a well-timed run by Zubak for his first goal of the season.
“I feel great about the goal and honestly, first game of the season, coming out fresh, it was good to put the ball in the back of the net,” said Zubak. “It kind of gives me confidence for the rest of the season. As far as the team, it couldn’t have started better. And to get a win like this and to get the shutout, it was really good for the team.”
Photo courtesy LA Galaxy II
One of 10 new head coaches in the USL this season, Muñoz gave credit to the organization and in particular to the likes of Academy fullback Ian Lonergan, who went a full 90 minutes in his USL debut, as the Galaxy II began their new era in the tradition of the old.
“Credit to the organization just for providing this opportunity to the staff and to the players,” Muñoz said. “Credit to the Academy staff and all the hard work they’ve done. Credit to [Galaxy Head Coach] Curt [Onalfo] and his staff for providing this platform for us. I’m not worried about our Academy kids stepping in and performing. I know they can do it.”