In a comfortable and clinical performance, LA Galaxy II start the season with three points in a 2-0 victory against Vancouver Whitecaps II.
The beginning of the first half could not have started any better for Los Dos. After incessantly pressing Vancouver’s backline, Galaxy II midfielder Baggio Husidic lobbed a threatening ball towards forward Ethan Zubak, but the positioning of the 19-year-old forced a mistake between defender Sem De Wit and goalkeeper Spencer Ritchey and the ball rolled into the back of the net to make it 1-0 to the host. While some could claim that the ball didn’t touch De Wit or Ritchey and Husidic could have claimed the goal, but it was marked as a De Wit own goal.
BAGGIO DROPPING THE BALL OUT OF THE SKY! pic.twitter.com/AQq146ppxo
— LA Galaxy II (@LAGalaxyII) March 25, 2017
After the goal, Los Dos were forcing the issue against the Whitecaps II’s defense. They were controlling play in the center of the park and Zubak, Adonis Amaya, and Miguel Aguilar were making brilliant plays in the offensive third of the pitch. Whenever Vancouver tried to play the ball out of the back, they were forced into making mistakes for Los Dos to pounce on.
Not only was their offense clicking, their defense was resolute as well. Whenever Los Dos lost possession, the defense was there to provide cover and snuff out attacks. While things might have died down before halftime, Los Dos were untroubled.
In the second half, Los Dos were on the front foot again as they were looking for that crucial second goal. They had a good chance to go 2-0 up early on in the second half as Ethan Zubak pulled a ball back for substitute Adrian Vera, who replaced Miguel Aguilar in the 35th minute, but shot it right at the keeper in the 58th minute.
Los Dos would get what they desired in the 67th minute as winger Bradford Jameson IV crossed a delightful ball in the 6-yard box and Zubak got on the end of it to get his first goal of the new campaign.
Welcome to the Ethan Zubak show! 🎥 pic.twitter.com/uiDxcC537I
— LA Galaxy II (@LAGalaxyII) March 25, 2017
While Vancouver had opportunities to score late on in the game, they did not threaten much offensively throughout the second half. Los Dos put on a professional performance in controlling play and seeing the game out to the final whistle. The score would stay at 2-0.
Manager Mike Munoz was pleased with his club’s performance in the first game of the 2017 USL season:
“I’m very proud of the guys. I thought that there were very good moments where we stuck to the game plan. Vancouver is a very good team, so there were moments when we had to deal with them coming at us and them attacking. We had to defend a little more than we would have liked. It was key that we got to halftime 1-0 because I thought that the game was teetering a little bit in their advantage. We were able to regroup and I thought we did a good job of eliminating [Vancouver’s] Debyi Flores, who was the key guy in the first half. And obviously we scored a key goal in a good moment for us. And I think once we got that second goal, it started to relax us and we settled down a little bit and we were able to see it out.”
Man of the Match: Ethan Zubak
After making his debut last season for Los Dos, the 19-year-old had a great season debut. In the first half, he was full of running and he forced the mistake that caused Sem De Wit to put the ball in his own net. While he didn’t do much the rest of the first half in terms of latching on to balls and creating chances, he turned it up in the second half.
He was able to to make threatening runs behind the Vancouver defense and created the first chance of the second half pulling the ball back to Adrian Vera. His movement was hard to pick up and was able to latch onto Bradford Jameson IV’s cross at the back post.
Throughout the match, he was full of confidence and was even trying some cheeky passing attempts to other forwards around him.
He, like Munoz, was satisfied with his performance and the performance of the team:
“I feel great about the goal and honestly, first game of the season, coming out fresh, it was good to put the ball in the back of the net. It kind of gives me confidence for the rest of the season. As far as the team, it couldn’t have started better. And to get a win like this and to get the shutout, it was really good for the team.”
Los Dos’ next match will be away from home against San Antonio FC on April 1.
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