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LA Galaxy II 2016 USL season preview

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Year founded: 2014
Affiliation: LA Galaxy
2015 record, place in conference standings: 14-11-3, 5th place in Western Conference
2015 playoffs: Runners-Up

Key additions: Denzel Slager, Bryam Rabellon John Neeskens, Josh Turnley
Key departures: Clement Diop, Daniel Steres, Joe Franco, Ariel Lassiter

After a heartbreaking defeat to the Rochester Rhinos in the USL championship match last season, Los Dos return for another year, as they seek to build on a returning core of youngsters that excelled in the 2015 campaign. Los Dos coach Curt Onalfo, however, will be complicated by the departures of captain Daniel Steres, starting goalkeeper Clement Diop, and last season's leading scorer Ariel Lassiter.

Given this context, finding the right balance from the start will obviously be difficult, but Los Dos remain a side capable of sustaining a a good team with a mix of LA Galaxy Academy products and loanees. The very act of reaching the final last season might be just what it takes to inspire this young side to another playoff run.

Why you should watch LA Galaxy II in 2016: The faces in the squad might have changed, but the system hasn't. For several players within the Galaxy organization, this is one way to bring what has been a long project in their development into fruition. That was never clearer than last season, where Daniel Steres and Ariel Lassiter shone their way to a LA Galaxy first-team contract. At the same time, it should not be forgotten that there is actual silverware to be won. Only seconds separated Los Dos from the trophy last time around.

3 Players to watch

Jack McBean: Having been named captain for Los Dos throughout the 2016 campaign, Jack McBean has been in fine form during preseason, scoring six goals and notching five assists. Only 21, McBean has been with the Galaxy since he was a teenager and it will be interesting to see if this will finally be his season.

Jaime Villarreal: Despite important departures, Villarreal is one player Los Dos can rely on to stand firm. If he can stay healthy, Villarreal is one of a few players expected to be charged with leading the team.

John Neeskens: One of three additions for the 2016 USL season, Neeskens is tasked with filling the void left behind by Daniel Steres. That will be no easy job, but whether he performs favorably or not may well be key to this side.

The 2016 season will be a success if...Los Dos can accomplish anything close to what they did last season. Obviously nobody likes to reach a final and have nothing put in their trophy cabinet, but the stand-out feature of this team last season was a league's best road record of 11-7-0. If they can carry that over to this season and reach the playoffs for a third consecutive campaign, anything can happen.