LA Galaxy U-15/16s defeat Real Colorado, advance to USSDA title match
(Via U.S. Soccer) – From start to finish, the LA Galaxy U-15/16s used goals from Oscar Penate, Jorge Hernandez and Jonathan Estrada to earn a convincing 3-0 victory against Real Colorado to advance to Saturday’s Final against FC Dallas.
“I was very pleased with the team performance,” said LA Galaxy head coach Michael Munoz. “We executed our game plan close to perfection. We came into the game knowing that Real Colorado would drop off, they’d allow us to dictate the game, own the ball and be the protagonist, which is what we want to do.”
Playing in their home facility, the LA Galaxy U-15/16s put their stamp on the game from the first whistle, swarming the attacking half to put Real Colorado under constant pressure.
The home side was rewarded for their efforts in the 11th minute when Kevin Negrete chased down a ball at the end line and muscled off a Real Colorado defender before passing to the back post, where Oscar Penate buried his 14th goal of the season.
The Galaxy continued to control the game as they took a 2-0 advantage in the 29th minute. Building out of the back, an eight-pass sequence through the middle led to Penate’s perfectly played back heel, which saw Jorge Hernandez coolly finish past Real Colorado goalkeeper Alex Singh.
The goal helped spur Real Colorado, who nearly cut the lead in half in the 34th minute, when Rhys De Sota played a square ball to Damen Marcu, who let loose a blade-cutting effort that streaked just wide of the Galaxy goal.
Despite Real Colorado’s efforts to get back into the game, the Galaxy found a third goal in the 45th minute. Playing a quick free kick after a foul at midfield, Jonathan Estrada blasted an effort off the right post before tucking his rebound inside the left, putting away his 19th goal of the season.
“Obviously the early goals helped things,” added Munoz. “It forced them to open up a little bit, which played right into our hands. I thought our defensive reactions were very good. Their whole game is the counterattack style, and I thought we did a good job of managing their key players and keeping them in front of us.
With a commanding 3-0 lead, the Galaxy worked to see out the game, often playing two-touch pass sequences to spread the ball around the field, forcing Real Colorado to chase. The possession build-up nearly led to a fourth goal, when Penate picked out Misael Becerra at the top of the area, but he pulled his low effort just wide of the left post in the 63rd minute.
That chance would be the last quality opportunity of the game as the Galaxy saw out the game to earn a place in Saturday’s Final against FC Dallas (live 5 p.m. PT on U.S. Soccer YouTube).
“The players will be up for it,” said Munoz. “Obviously we’re in front of our home crowd, in our home stadium. FC Dallas is a great Academy. What they’ve done in the past and what they continue to do, I have a ton of respect for. I think it’s going to be a great game and we’re looking forward to it.”