Los Angeles Soccer: Richard Martinez
The best-compensated player on the field made the biggest difference for the Galaxy on Tuesday at U.S. Soccer's Development Academy finals in Milwaukee.
Forward Jack McBean, who in January signed a professional contract with the club, scored one goal and set up another with a sensational run in a 4-0 rout over the Dallas Texans that leaves the Galaxy 80 minutes from a title-game appearance.
Sean Dhillon (Rancho Santa Margarita/Tesoro HS) scored two goals and his brother, Justin, added another as L.A. improved to 1-0-1 in the U-15/16 Division. A win or draw Thursday against the Seattle Sounders (1-0-1) will send the Galaxy to the final in youth soccer's premier national competition.
Real So Cal (0-1-1) was eliminated from the U-15/16 title chase with a 2-1 loss to the Sounders. Angel Fernandez (Woodland Hills/El Camino Real HS) headed in a cross from Richard Martinez (Santa Monica/Santa Monica HS) to give the Woodland Hills-based club a lead at the start of the second half, but goals by Austin Sweeney and Ian Lange lifted Seattle.
Mission Viejo-based Pateadores (1-0-1) remain atop Group A in the U-17/18 Division after a scoreless draw Monday with the 10-man Dallas Texans (1-0-1). Jose Villareal (Lawndale/Leuzinger HS) hit the post with eight minutes to go for the Pateadores, who finish group play Wednesday against New Jersey's PDA.
Goal difference could determine who goes to the final. Pateadores (plus-2) is ahead of the Texans (plus-1), who finish against the New York Red Bulls (1-1-0).
Major League Soccer's development initiative has spurred every club to begin (or plan) an academy program, and the Galaxy's is beginning to produce. McBean (Newport Beach/Corona del Mar HS) signed through MLS's Home Grown Player mechanism, for academy players, and is making $76,000 in guaranteed compensation, according to the MLS Players Union.
McBean, who just finished his sophomore year of high school, won't be 17 until December.