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It’s Jack McBean’s time to shine

Jack McBean has to be ready when his name is called this season.

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-La Maquina at LA Galaxy
Jack McBean in U.S. Open Cup.
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

When Robbie Keane retired in 2016, this left Gyasi Zardes as the lone striker in the senior squad. And Zardes is coming off an injury ridden season, where he missed the latter stage of the season, including playoff, with a broken foot.

That leaves the first team with one extra striker, outside of Giovanni dos Santos who will not stick to playing off a defender’s shoulder. That man to fill the role? Jack McBean.

Yes, that’s right, it’s McBean’s time to finally prove himself in the league and he has everything set up perfectly.

The 22-year-old striker, a product out of Newport Beach, CA first signed with the Galaxy organization six years ago in 2011 after rising through the ranks of the youth academy.

Three months after signing his first professional contract with the club, aged just 16, McBean appeared in a friendly against Premier League giants Manchester City. This was, obviously, a big step in his development. While he was only on the pitch for a short amount of time, having entered the match in the 66th minute, his ability was noticeable.

When the LA Galaxy II was formed in 2014, Jack McBean was the center piece of that side. And he got better each season, both in terms of stats and watching him develop into a prototypical number nine.

Los Dos only went as far as the 6 foot tall striker took them. In their first three seasons, they reached the USL playoffs. In 2014, LAGII lost to rivals Sacramento Republic in the opening round. The following year, McBean and company made it all the way to the championship game, before losing a heartbreaking match to the Rochester Rhinos.

But yet, 2016 was still McBean’s best season as a professional to date. He started out the year scoring goal after goal for the young G’s, as he fired 11 goals in the opening 11 matches of the new campaign.

A loan move to Coventry City did not go as expected, having spent most of his time playing with the English clubs under-23 side. That did not stop him from scoring goals, however. In England, McBean netted six times, which includes two braces during his stay across the pond.

Without the young striker in the squad during the latter stages of 2016, Los Dos struggled and promptly exited the playoffs in the first round.

Still, at the end of the year, McBean scored just as many goals — 15 — as the next two, Ariel Lassiter — 9 — and Jose Villarreal — 6 — had combined.

That just hows you how important McBean was to that side. He was the main source of their offense and without them, the Curt Onalfo coached side struggled to find any sort of rhythm in the final third of the pitch.

This is just the start for the highly touted youngster who still has to take several steps before reaching his full potential.

Luckily, he is in the perfect environment. McBean has spent the last couple of seasons with the new Galaxy manager, Onalfo. The 47-year-old head coach knows McBean’s strengths and weaknesses, knows what the the academy product has to offer on the pitch and what he needs to work on to take his game to the next level.

Playing more with the first team this season, with a thin squad, especially up top, should give McBean the confidence to really fight for time on the pitch with the first team squad. And he needs to make the most of each opportunity that comes his way, because who knows when another shot like this is going to come along.

However, If he continues his development this season, and he does indeed take another step, there should be no reason why you shouldn’t see McBean in a regular starting role sooner rather than later.