LA Galaxy II had a terrific regular season to make it to the 2020 USL Championship playoffs, but their run, and season, came to a halt in the Western Conference quarterfinal round, after falling 4-1 to Reno 1868 FC at Greater Nevada Field.
Los Dos played from behind most of the game, but really played well for the first 35 minutes or so. The experience and ability to execute from Reno, plus a few costly mistakes by LA, meant the scoreline was far more lopsided than it could have otherwise been.
LA were put under pressure early, with two low crosses on the flank by Reno attacker Tucker Bone leading to near looks, but nothing there. A minute later, Los Dos goalkeeper Abraham Romero with a far too casual pass in the back and it was intercepted and scored by Reno’s Kevin Partida to make it 1-0 just four minutes in.
But as they’ve done all season, Los Dos got to work and on one of their first trips upfield they equalized. Mauricio Cuevas hit a free kick deep in the corner that was headed in by defender Jalen Neal to make it 1-1.
Reno nearly took the lead in the 18th minute, with Corey Hertzog with a free lane to shoot on the counterattack, before he sent it to Foster Langsdorf. The forward hesitated on the ball, giving Romero a second to recover and he made the block to keep the game tied.
But Reno took the lead again in the 35th minute, with Christiano Francois leading the counterattack for the home side, feeding Hertzog, who scored from the top of the box to make it 2-1.
Bone nearly scored in first-half stoppage time, but after beating Romero, his shot was blocked off the line by Neal to maintain the one-goal deficit for LA.
Los Dos struggled after going down again to end the first half, but with Junior Gonzalez bringing on reinforcements at halftime in Jonathan Perez and Sebastian Nava, the energy level went back up and LA tried to push for another equalizer.
Those hopes were dashed in the 53rd minute. With Los Dos pushing forward, Reno hit a quick counterattack, with Hertzog feeding Langsdorf with a good throughball, Langsdorf this time making no mistake to beat Romero easily to make it 3-1.
Hertzog then earned a penalty from Romero, and the veteran stepped up himself to score the spot kick to make it 4-1 just before the hour mark, effectively wrapping up the game with 30 minutes to play.
Adam Saldaña received a red card in the 76th minute for a kick from behind on a Reno player and it was an unnecessary play, frankly.
It’s a disappointing end to the season to Los Dos, to be sure, but youthful mistakes cost the team in an elimination game. Romero made seven saves, but his mistake in coughing up the ball on the first goal and then conceding the penalty on the fourth made the difference between a close game and a blowout. Sometimes that’s the difference, especially in an elimination game.
Still, it was a very promising season overall for Galaxy II. Using a consistent squad all season helped them build rhythm, and they reached the playoffs in arguably the hardest group in the league. There were standouts all over the field this season, and several of them look like they could have very bright futures, including perhaps with the Galaxy first team. Wins are always nice at this level, but that’s the big goal in the long run for the Galaxy organization.
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