When the LA Galaxy's under-17/18 squad meets the Vancouver Whitecaps in U.S. Soccer Development Academy action Jan. 22, it will be staring at a team whose style of play is a virtual mirror image of its own.
Like the Galaxy, the Whitecaps use a 4-3-3 formation designed for a possession-oriented, yet aggressive attack.
"We've played against other teams with similar tendencies, but for us, we've got to be more worried about what we need to do than what they're going to be doing," LA Galaxy coach Eddie Soto said.
"I don't know much about them either, but I've heard a lot of good things about their team. I think that it will be a good soccer game, and a good, exciting match up."
Leaders of the West Conference SoCal Division, the Galaxy (7-0-2) won seven straight prior to battling through consecutive draws.
The Galaxy will attempt to regain its winning ways against the struggling California Development Academy (3-8-2) on Jan. 21, followed by their Northwest Division leading West Conference the Whitecaps (8-1-2).
Pacing the Galaxy are strikers Jose Villarreal, Pedro Velazquez and Mario Rodriguez and Jack McBean with three goals each, and Sebastian Velasquez and Irvin Parra, who have scored twice.
Midfielders Raul Mendiola, Abel Leon and Drew Murphy have two goals each for the Galaxy, whose defense must work to contain 12-goal scoring striker Caleb Clarke of the Whitecaps.
West Conference SoCal Division
Midfielder Michael Turner and forward Kosta Kotselas have contributed four goals each, and forwards Brian Iloski, Bryce Flores, Isaac Miselewicz and Zach Solado have scored twice during a seven-game winning streak that has the division-leading Surf at 10-4-2.
The Surf has outscored its opposition 19-0 during their run, anchored by defenders Eric Holt and Parker Holland, who have scored twice while playing in front of 6-foot-3 goalie Adrian Zendejas.
West Conference Northwest Division
Goals by Dominique Dismuke, Jordan Schweitzer and Jesse Klug, in succession, led the Seattle Sounders to a 3-0 win over California Development Academy on Dec. 18 as the Sounders (7-4-3) bounced back from a 3-1 loss to Vancouver Whitecaps a day earlier.
Next up for the Seattle Sounders is a match Jan. 21 against Real Salt Lake-AZ (4-5-2) of the West Conference SoCal Division.
The Seattle Sounders (10-2-2) have continued to stand tall on defense -- literally. Anchored by 6-2, 175-pounders Jalen Markey and Ryan Harber, along with 5-11 back line mates Mark Matula and Kyle Bjomenthun, the Sounders have outscored their past eight opponents 28-8 with three shutouts.
Bjornethun scored twice during that time while also defending well alongside Jacob Hauser and Troy McCarty in front of goalies Connor Adkinson and Trevor Larson.
Forwards Denis Kalamara and David Olsen, and midfielder Isidirio Prado-Huerta and Duncan McCormick have contributed four goals each. Three more goals have come from forward James Molyneaux-Elliott during the past eight games to pace the Sounders, who next face Real Salt Lake-AZ of the West Conference SoCal Division on Jan. 21.
Central Conference Texas Division
Division leader FC Dallas (9-0-1, 11-0-2) received consecutive scores from Flavio Guzman, Alex Frankenfeld, Daniel Garcia and Bobby Edet during a 4-0 shutout of division rival Solar Chelsea SC (3-4-2, 7-4-3) on Dec. 17.
FC Dallas takes on the Dallas Texans (2-3-4, 4-4-6) on Saturday.
Brandon Aubrey's eighth goal of the year in the 55th minute stood for a 1-0 triumph over rival Andromeda FC (1-7-2, 1-12-2) as the Dallas Texans rose to 7-0-2 in the division and 9-0-5 overall.
The Texans have a big game opposite division nemesis FC Dallas (4-3-3, 5-4-4) on Saturday. FC Dallas is in third place in the division behind Texas SC Houston (5-3-1, 8-4-2).