Photo courtesy Christian Inoferio / Rio Grande Valley FC
EDINBURG, Texas – Jonah Estrada’s first professional goal earned the LA Galaxy II a 1-0 victory against Rio Grande Valley FC on Saturday night at H-E-B Park. The Galaxy II (3-8-2, 11pts) almost took the lead in the eight minute as Jorge Hernandez was slipped into the penalty area by Justin Dhillon, but was unable to beat Calle Brown in the Toros goal. Los Dos midfielder Alejandro Covarrubias had a pair of good long-range efforts also saved by Brown, but the best chance of the half fell to the Toros (5-5-2, 17pts) as Todd Wharton’s shot from the right side of the penalty area beat Eric Lopez in the Galaxy II goal but was cleared away with his heel by defender Robert Castellanos. RGVFC’s Ruben Luna put a header wide just before the hour-mark for the hosts, but the Galaxy II almost took the lead as a shot by Estrada wasn’t cleanly held by Brown, but Brown recovered in time to deny Justin Dhillon’s rebound effort. Luna again went close for the Toros moments later as Lopez made a good save to deny his effort to the left corner, but Los Dos took the lead with 20 minutes to go as a turnover allowed Dhillon to set up Estrada for a precise finish to the right corner from the top of the penalty area. The Toros almost hit back as Wharton set up Victor Garza inside the left side of the area, but his finish flew wide of the right post. RGVFC continued to push late for an equalizer, but the Galaxy II were able to close out just their third win of the season.
70’ – LA – Jonah Estrada (Justin Dhillon)
Three Things That Matter:
1. Jonah Estrada came on as a halftime substitute for the LA Galaxy II, and in just his second professional appearance the 16-year-old provided the first of what could be a number of memorable moments for the young Academy signing. Justin Dhillon, who has been one of Los Dos’ best performers over the past month, played a key role, as he was quick to capitalize on slack pass by the Toros defense, but Estrada’s first-time finish was a piece of quality that earned the youngster his first goal at the professional level.
2. In reacquiring Alejando Covarrubias, who had led Los Dos in appearances over the past three seasons, the LA Galaxy II were looking to add some experience into its youthful lineup. On Saturday night the veteran central midfielder showed the type of influence he can have moving forward. Covarrubias had two outstanding long-range shots denied by Toros goalkeeper Calle Brown, but also provided a positive rhythm to the Galaxy II’s passing. His presence seemed to lift those around him as the Galaxy II put in a much more cohesive overall performance than the have for much of this season.
3. The Toros have had a number of false dawns this season, not enough yet to endanger their position in the Western Conference playoff positions, but enough to keep the side from reaching the heights it did in its inaugural season. After an outstanding victory a week ago against Seattle Sounders FC 2, the Toros had chances to get something from the game, but weren’t quite sharp enough in front of goal. As a result, a terrible giveaway gave the Galaxy II an opening to finish, and take a big road win.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Jonah Estrada, LA Galaxy II – Estrada’s first professional goal after coming on a halftime substitute proved the difference as Los Dos claimed its third win of the season.
Rio Grande Valley FC at Sacramento Republic FC – June 21, 11 p.m. ET, Papa Murphy’s Park
LA Galaxy II vs. Sacramento Republic FC – June 25, 9:30 p.m. ET, StubHub Center Track and Field Stadium