In just their second year in existence last season, LA Galaxy II made it to the USL championship game. Unfortunately, they suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Rochester Rhinos, losing 2-1 in extra time.
Memories of that night quickly faded away as LAGII stormed out of the gates to begin the 2016 season. Los Dos started off the season losing only two games in their opening 19, propelling them towards the top of the USL Western Conference standings. Their form quickly diminished, though, as they fell down to the fifth seed when the season finally came to a close.
Two of the biggest reasons why they were able to make a deep run into the playoffs was the play of Ariel Lassiter up top and the stout back line.
The LA Galaxy II’s defense allowed only one goal in their run to the championship game. This is quite the accomplishment considering they played every match away from home. A key factor in that four in front of the goalkeeper was the presence of Daniel Steres. He was the leader back there, organizing the defense while being a calming force too.
It was not Jack McBean scoring the goals for the Galaxy II up top, but rather Lassiter. The Costa Rican native scored four of his side’s final five goals of the season, including the lone goal against Rochester.
Who’s going to score the goals this postseason? Jack McBean still leads the club with 15 goals this season, but he’s not here for the playoffs. Lassiter is sitting on nine goals scored, and Jose Villarreal sits third with six. If Los Dos have to rely solely on those two guys for their offensive output,
But the question still looms. Can this group, without Jack McBean, without Daniel Steres, make a run in the playoffs? Their path to the final was a difficult one last season, but the back line was steadier, allowing only 31 goals which was tied for second least in the league. If the back line gets compact and remains focused, there’s no question that they can make it to at least the Conference championship match.