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Boys DA Dec 05, 2015

USSDA Winter Showcase: LA Galaxy U-15/16 edges out Philadelphia Union 4-3

LAKEWOOD RANCH, Florida (Via U.S. Soccer) – After a first half that lacked chances, the LA Galaxy U-15/16s and Philadelphia Union U-15/16s combined for three goals in the game’s final three minutes as Jonathan Estrada’s stoppage time strike helped LA to a dramatic 4-3 win Saturday afternoon at the Premier Sports Campus.

The Union looked to have found the game’s first goal when a long throw in from the right popped around the Galaxy box. The ball eventually made its way to Union midfielder Anthony Fontana, who let loose a lethal first-time volley which tucked inside the left post. After some heavy celebration, the officiating crew ruled that a Union player was in an offside position, close enough to the ball to disallow the goal.

The Union continued to pressure the Galaxy back line, resulting in another chance in the 23rd minute. Fontana collected a loose ball at the top of the area and turned with a well-hit shot that saw Galaxy ‘keeper Eric Lopez stand tall to make the save.

The Galaxy worked their way back into the match, grabbing the game’s first goal in the 31st minute. Daniel Villegas did well to find space for himself on the right before centering a low pass for Oscar Penate, who tucked it home from close range, sending LA into halftime up 1-0.

The Galaxy nearly doubled their lead in the 47th minute when Kevin Negrete cut back on the left and found Penate open at the back post, but his bid for a brace came up empty as his first-time shot went wide.

Back the other way, Kalil Elmedkhar found space down the left before cutting inside at the top of the area to unleash a well-hit shot which Lopez saw all the way in the 48th minute.

The Union’s high press would finally pay off one minute later when Issa Rayan forced a turnover on the right, pushing the ball to Justin McMasters at the top of the penalty area. McMasters took one touch to gain an angle, before beating Carlos dos Santos in the 49th minute.

It didn’t take long for the Galaxy to respond, however. Full of steam from his first half assist, Villegas made his way through the box on right and cut back for Negrete who hit his one-time effort inside the left post to restore the Galaxy lead in the 55th minute.

Five minutes later, Villegas’ free kick from the right picked out the head of Galaxy captain Daniel Lonergan, but his nodded effort from the six-yard box went just over the bar.

In the 65th minute, Penate worked his way into the area on the right before centering for Jacob Muchnick at the six-yard box, but his effort was well kept out thanks to a diving stop from dos Santos.

The Union were spurred on by the save and went back down the field to equalize a minute later. Byron Josue Monge ran on to the ball after a throw in from the right and centered his pass for Elmedkhar who buried his chance in the 66th minute.

LA’s Jonathan Estrada nearly broke the deadlock in the 76th minute when he collected the ball and fired a quick shot that was deflected to the top of the area. Estrada regained possession and beat two Union defenders to the end line where dos Santos came off his line to cut the angle. Estrada cut back and then turned back towards goal, before his shot was seen out for a corner kick by the Union goalkeeper.

It looked like the match would play out to a 2-2 draw, but both teams had other plans. The Galaxy earned a free kick 25 yards from goal, allowing Efrain Alvarez to step up and curl his effort inside the right post to make it 3-2 in the 79th minute.

One minute later, the Union’s McMasters played for Rayan at the top of the area, he touched for Elmedkhar, who had his first shot saved by Lopez and his rebound effort go off the cross bar, but it fell perfectly for Rayan who nodded into the empty net at the back post.

A 3-3 draw looked a likely result, but the Galaxy saved one more piece of drama for stoppage time. Estrada would redeem his 76th minute chance, picking up on a miscue at the back before pushing into the box and firing a rocket in off the right post to earn a dramatic 4-3 win in a well-played game by both sides.

With the result, the LA Galaxy U-15/16s move to 8-3-0, while the Philadelphia Union U-15/16s fall to 8-3-3 on the 2015-16 U.S. Soccer Development Academy campaign.

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