Teen forward Jack McBean hasn't spent much time with the Galaxy in his rookie season, focusing primarily on his burgeoning international career with the U.S.'s under-17 national team. The Yanks' exit last week from the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mexico has brought him back to Carson, for the first time since early April, and his return to action Tuesday was marked with an assist.
It's another step forward for the 16-year-old striker from Newport Beach, who in January -- midway through his sophomore year at Corona del Mar High School -- signed a Home Grown Player pact with the Galaxy. His development has far to go, but every chance to play with L.A.'s reserve side takes him, he hopes, closer to his gosal.
"I obviously want to get into the first team as quick as possible, whether that's, I don't know, six months, a year, whatever," McBean said after coming off the bench to assist Adam Cristman's goal late in Tuesday's 2-1 MLS Reserve League defeat to the Seattle Sounders at Home Depot Center. "I just want to be out there on the field with those guys."
That might be a little further off than he hopes, but he certainly doesn't look out of place in the reserve games -- and this one, owing to the depth both L.A. and Seattle possess, wasn't all that far off from a real match. He came on with a half-hour to go, brought energy to the Galaxy attack and helped halve the Sounders' advantage with a nifty chip for Cristman to finish at close range in the 73rd minute.
"As a sub, I just try to come in, have an impact on the game," McBean said. "Luckily, I got an assist on the one to Adam. I'm pretty happy with that, but I definitely need to work on a lot of other stuff."
He has worked sparingly with the Galaxy most of the spring and into the first weeks of summer, preparing for the U-17 World Cup at the U.S. team's residency in Bradenton, Fla., and in friendlies in Mexico before the tournament began. The U.S. went 1-2-1 at the Cup, finishing second in their group but falling, 4-0, to Germany, one of the title favorites, in a round-of-16 clash Thursday. The Germans will meet Mexico in a semifinal Thursday in Torreon.
McBean did not play during the group stage, but he came on in the second half against the Germans. He'll forever remember his first World Cup.
"It was crazy," he said. "When the tournament first started, it was really cool. Everyone had adrenaline, even the kids on the bench. It was a good experience, then to finally get in, it was really fun to play, and on a stage like that, it can't get much better."
The atmosphere in Mexico "was awesome. The fans down there are crazy. We were getting booed all the time, because we're Americans. But it was awesome. I never experienced anything like that before."
IN THE NETS: Galaxy coach Bruce Arena acknowledged after Monday night's 0-0 MLS draw with Seattle that he hadn't decided whether to retain Brian Perk, who stopped a penalty kick in his league debut, for Saturday night's clash with Chicago or give the start to No. 2 netminder Josh Saunders, who was serving a red-card suspension.
The expectation is Saunders will get the call, and he was in the nets for Tuesday's game, working primarily on "your positioning, your footwork and all that" in advance of the next varsity game.
He lasted just 20 minutes in his last appearance, June 25 at San Jose, coming on when starter Donovan Ricketts broke his arm and promptly leaving following a controversial red card just before halftime. Forward/midfielder Mike Magee stepped into the nets and notched the shutout, winning MLS's Player of the Week and Save of the Week honors, and Perk followed with impressive performances in last week's U.S. Open Cup victory over the L.A. Blues and in Monday's draw.
"It was a weird turn of events, but at no point did we ever think any less of what was going to happen," Saunders said. "Obviously, Brian got in there yesterday and did an amazing job. It's one of those things: Until the fans and everybody sees him, no one knows, but guys like Ian [Feuer, the Galaxy's goalkeeper coach], Donovan [Ricketts] and myself, we have the most faith in him because we see him every day training with us."
Magee, too, impressed. Sort of.
"Mike Magee kind of blacked out. I wouldn't attribute that to any technique," Saunders said. "He got in there and became a man and did a job. Words dont describe what he did. That's so hard to do."
WORTH NOTING: Lamar Neagle set up Nate Jaqua's goal in the 18th minute and converted a penalty kick in the 31st after rookie Dan Keat fouled Mike Fucito in the box to lead the Sounders (7-0-0) to the Reserve League triumph. The Galaxy is 1-6-0. ... Two academy players saw action for the Galaxy: forward Justin Dhillon (Rancho Santa Margarita/Tesoro HS) and midfielder Grady Howe (Newport Beach/Corona del Mar HS). ... All-Star fan balloting concludes tonight, and several Galaxy players are doing well in the tally. David Beckham has received the most votes among midfielders (no numbers not percentages are available), Landon Donovan is No. 2 among forwards (behind San Jose's Chris Wondolowski), Ricketts is the No. 2 goalkeeper (to Seattle's Kasey Keller), and Omar Gonzalez and Sean Franklin are running 2-3 among defenders (Matt Besler stunningly is No. 1, benefiting from an organized campaign among Sporting Kansas City fans).
Home Depot Center University Field 1 (Carson)
Galaxy 1, Seattle Sounders 2
S -- Nate Jaqua (Lamar Neagle) 19
S -- Lamar Neagle pen. 31
LA -- Adam Cristman (Jack McBean) 73
Galaxy: Josh Saunders; Bryan Jordan (Grady Howe, 79), Dan Keat, Kyle Davies, Ryan Thomas; Paolo Cardozo (Justin Dhillon, 73), Dustin McCarty, Jovan Kirovski, Hector Jimenez; Miguel Lopez (Jack McBean, 60), Adam Cristman. Unused sub: Kevin Guppy.
Seattle Sounders: Terry Boss; Zach Scott, Taylor Graham, Patrick Ianni, Leo Gonzalez; Pat Noonan (David Estrada, 46), Mike Seamon, Servando Carrasco, Lamar Neagle (Miguel Montaño, 60); Nate Jaqua (Aaron Kovar, 73), Mike Fucito.
Yellow cards: Neagle 47, Fucito 64, Montaño 88.
Referee: Alejandro Mariscal. Att.: 150.