Los Angeles Soccer: Grady Howe

YOUTH: Galaxy claim USSDA championship

July, 17, 2011

The Galaxy's academy claimed its first big prize Saturday, its under-16 team winning the championship of U.S. Soccer's Development Academy, the nation's premier youth-soccer competition.

William Raygoza (South El Monte/South El Monte HS), Justin Dhillon (Rancho Santa Margarita/Tesoro HS) and Drew Murphy (Palos Verdes/Palos Verdes HS) scored goals in a 16-minute span midway through the second half, sending the Galaxy to a 4-1 romp over PA Classics, from Manheim, Pa., in the U-15/16 title game in Milwaukee.

Jack McBean (Newport Beach/Corona del Mar HS), already a pro with L.A.'s first team, set up the second-minute opener by Sean Dhillon (Rancho Santa Margarita/Tesoro HS) and nearly scored two himself as the Galaxy completed a Southern California sweep of the USSDA championships.

Mission Viejo's Pateadores won the U-17/18 final Friday.

The Galaxy outscored four opponents, 12-2, en route to the title, with the Dhillon brothers netting three goals apiece. Justin, the younger, has featured for L.A.'s MLS Reserve League side, as have teammates Grady Howe (Newport Beach/Corona del Mar HS) and Matt Tilley (Irvine/Irvine HS).

Woodland Hills-based Real So Cal lost on penalties, 8-7, to Real Salt Lake AZ after a 0-0 draw in the third-place game.

Another team from Real So Cal -- girls under-16 -- reached the Elite Clubs National League title game for its division in Aurora, Colo. CASL Chelsea FC of Raleigh, N.C. won, 4-1, in Saturday's match.

The U.S. Youth Soccer Association's national championships, which run July 27-31 in Phoenix, will feature four local clubs: Fullerton Rangers in the boys U-14 division, Alta Loma's Arsenal FC in girls U-14, Newport Beach-based Slammers FC in girls U-15 and San Juan Capistrano-based So Cal Blues in girls U-17.

GALAXY: McBean returns with an assist

July, 5, 2011

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.

(Read full post)

GALAXY: Reserve race almost over

June, 13, 2011

The Galaxy's primary goals this season: Win another Supporters' Shield, reach the knockout phase of the CONCACAF Champions League and claim the MLS Cup title in front of their home fans.

Good thing an MLS Reserve League championship isn't vital, because they're all but dead after Monday's 1-0 loss at Seattle. L.A. is 0-4-0 and can catch the Sounders (6-0-0) only by winning its six remaining league games as the West Division leaders go winless in their last four.

Not very likely. The Sounders, who have shut out their past three foes, pride themselves on their depth, and it certainly showed. Their lineup included Swedish star Erik Friberg, Costa Rican outside back Leo Gonzalez, veteran defender Patrick Ianni and veteran forward Pat Noonan.

Riverside's Sammy Ochoa (Riverside Poly HS), on trial with Seattle after playing the past five years with Mexico's Estudiantes Tecos, scored the goal. He knocked a rebound over a pile of bodies after Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Perk made a point-blank save on his first shot from a Friberg feed.

Perk made seven saves, the biggest a diving foot save on Miguel Montaņo in the 71st minute.

WORTH NOTING: Defender Kyle Davies, who exited last week's Reserve League loss at San Jose with an ankle injury, was a second-half substitute. … Duke-bound winger Riley Wolfe (Manhattan Beach/Mira Costa HS) came on late for the Galaxy. On the bench were Loyola Marymount-bound goalkeeper Vince Paldino (Torrance/North Torrance HS) and midfielder Grady Howe (Newport Beach/Corona del Mar HS), a high school junior (and CdM teammate of Galaxy forward Jack McBean's). All three are from L.A.'s Academy. ... MLS on Monday awarded defender Todd Dunivant a secondary assist on Chris Birchall's second-minute goal in Saturday night's 2-2 draw with Toronto FC. Miguel Lopez was credited with the primary assist Saturday. TFC's Danleigh Borman was given an assist on Alan Gordon's first goal. … Next Monday's Reserve League game against Vancouver has been moved to Home Depot Center's Track and Field Stadium. It will begin at 11 a.m. … No playoffs are planned at the end of the Reserve League regular season; the top teams in each of three divisions will be divisional champs.

(Read full post)