The kids might be alright for LA Galaxy II, as the USL side took a 1-0 win on the road Saturday over Rio Grande Valley FC.
Mike Munoz continued to use a lineup made largely of teenagers against the Texas side, with only Alejandro Covarrubias, re-signed a few weeks ago, vastly experienced on the USL level. And the group hung tough with their opponent, who they previously tied 1-1 this season, as both teams had chances and the goalkeepers — Eric Lopez for Los Dos, Calle Brown for RGVFC — were kept busy during the match.
LA got two bites of the cherry, in a manner of speaking, in this game, as it appeared they went ahead midway through the first half off a corner kick, but the goal was waved off.
The breakthrough came in the 70th minute, as 16-year-old academy player Jonah Estrada received the ball from Justin Dhillon, who had taken a turnover in a dangerous area before passing it along, and Estrada finished from the top of the box with two touches. It’s the youngster’s first career goal in USL, in just his second appearance.
There were nerves late, as RGVFC had some chances. There was nearly a big blunder as a stoppage-time free kick by the hosts was nearly headed in by a Galaxy defender, but mercifully the ball bounced wide of the mark and Galaxy II picked up their third win of the season, despite being second-best in most of the match categories save the one that truly counts.
The victory is a good sign for Galaxy II, who seem to be playing better on the road the past two months than at home, and while form has not been great, they’ve been putting more results together recently. It looks like the young group is starting to get their footing under them and figure out how to play at the USL level together. They are still near the bottom of the Western Conference standings, but leapfrogged idle local rivals Orange County SC this weekend and sit six points out of a playoff place at the moment.
It’s far too early to worry about the playoff hunt, but if LA can continue to pick up more wins and draws than losses, they might get in the reckoning when the postseason chase begins in earnest this season.