Match Day 3 will take San Antonio FC back to California for their second road match of the season. Los Dos has yet to get into the win column in their first two weeks of play, and San Antonio will want to see that trend extend for one more week. We caught up with Chris Hybl from LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) to get the answers to six questions about SAFC’s next opponent, Los Dos. For the second time this season, SAFC will be the opponent for a USL home opener as LA2 returns to the Stub Hub Center for the first time in 2018. Here we go into another edition of the Six-Pointer Preview.
- 1 – (RB90) It’s been a tough start for LA2 so far. The results haven’t been there, only earning one point in the first two matches of the young season, but what has stood out as something to build on for the team?
(CH) It’s a fresh group. A lot of new faces. I don’t know that I would be firm in saying it’s a tough start. The team faced tough conditions in Colorado Springs, cold, altitude and poor pitch to start a season is a tough ask. Pulling a 1-1 away draw while playing with 10 men for 65 minutes isn’t a bad result. But I’d focus on the developing chemistry. In total, seven new signings on a 16-man roster.
- 2 – Every “2” team seems to have a different philosophy about how to approach their games. Is LA2 concerned about winning performances in USL, or is it more important to groom players for senior team play? We noticed that several Academy players made their debut for the team right out of the gate this season.
I’d say both are equally important. The Academy players that featured last week had played LA Galaxy II games last year, so they all had USL experience. Many of them were training with the first team prior to the opening of the MLS season too, so it is certainly a big priority to groom players for senior team play. But, if you look at the new signings, we’ve brought in more experienced players and Mike Muñoz had spoken to that group about improving the roster.
- 3 – Last week Jean Egnola had a very impressive 10 clearances against the Foxes earning Man of the Match while leading LA2 to their first 2018 point with only ten men. Has he set the standard to lead LA2’s defense this year and he is the main key to slowing down SAFC’s attack on Saturday night?
Engola has been one of the most improved players since joining in the start of 2017. I wouldn’t say he’s set the standard to lead G2’s defense though. The main key to slowing down San Antonio’s attack will be strength in the midfield and a strong performance from outside backs Nate Shultz and John Requejo.
- 4 – LA2 won USL West in 2015. In 2017 they missed the playoffs for the first time ever. What needs to go right for LA2 to get back to their playoff form and do you expect this to be a playoff team in 2018?
The expectation is that they make the playoffs.
- 5 – San Antonio has visited LA2 twice and it has been a tough place for SAFC to play, with both games ending in hard-fought draws. Does someone get a win this time, and what will be the keys to victory?
I won’t predict a victory for Los Dos, but I think keys to victory for them will be controlling the midfield. An early goal, also.
- 6 – Tell us something we should know about Los Angeles Galaxy 2.
Los Dos is one of the most competitive parts of the organization. It’s the battleground for players inside the organization: Academy players trying to prove themselves at the next level, GII guys trying to earn playing time, GII starters trying to earn first-team recognition. So much competition every day.
Current Form (W–D–L)
San Antonio FC – L W, 2018 Road Record 0-0-1
Los Angeles Galaxy 2 – L D, 2018 Home Record 0-0-0
San Antonio FC – 3 points, 0 GD, tied for 7th
Los Angeles Galaxy 2 – 1 point, -2 GD, 16th
All-Time History (W–D–L)
In two matches in LA, San Antonio FC has drawn with Los Dos both times. The all-time series is dead even at 1-2-1 with both teams winning once at Toyota Field.
San Antonio tied Los Dos 1-1 on September 9, 2017, in LA. San Antonio captain Michael Reed scored an unassisted goal for SAFC on a free kick in the closing minutes of the match to earn the point for San Antonio.
The Matchup (W–D–L)
San Antonio FC (1-0-1) at Los Angeles Galaxy 2 (0-1-1) #LAvSA
Stub Hub Center
Kickoff 5:30 pm Central Time
Where to Watch: USL Match Center, www.sanantoniofc.com
Key to victory
San Antonio FC will look for their first winning streak of the season as they head back out to the west coast for the second time this season. In the early going, LA2 doesn’t have the look of a strong team, and rather looks a lot more like the one that missed the playoffs in 2017, and SAFC will look to capitalize on it. After scoring five goals in the pre-season, Ever Guzman seemed to pick up right where he left off his bright 2017 start for San Antonio. But two matches into the season and he has yet to open his scoring account. At some point, if this team is going to go where they need to go, they’re going to need production out of him. Connor Presley continues to impress and it was a welcome sight to see Tyrpak get going last week. Mikey Lopez is two for two and looks like a real USL gem in the making.
On defense, the new look back four is just trying to find themselves. They’ll be hoping for some return to health and a little bit of consistency this week. After putting up 12 clean sheets in 2017, Restrepo still looks for his first of 2018, although he’s tied for 3rd in USL West with 7 saves. This should be a good week to reassert themselves as a defense-first team. LA2 went scoreless in week one vs Colorado, and their goal last week vs Fresno was an opponent own-goal, so they are still looking for their first offensive strike of the season.
LA2 only managed 26 percent possession in their draw against Fresno, although they did have to finish the match with only ten men after Midfielder Justin Dhillon was red carded in the 24th minute. They’ll be without his services on Saturday. Overall, LA2 has to be a welcome sight for an SAFC team hungry for a dominant match. Let’s hope they can take advantage of the opportunity to grab three more points and set up a big early-season showdown at Toyota Field next weekend against the 2x defending USL West Champion Swope Park Rangers.
San Antonio FC – 2
Los Angeles Galaxy II – 0
SAFC “Did You Know?”
Rafa Castillo scored the third fastest goal in SAFC history on July 23rd, 2016 vs LA2, scoring two minutes and twenty-two seconds into the match.