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LA Galaxy product Ulysses Llanez scores winner on USMNT debut

Plenty of Galaxy involvement in the match.

Costa Rica v United States Photo by Shaun Clark/Getty Images

The U.S. Men’s National Team played their first game of 2020 at Dignity Health Sports Park on Saturday afternoon, defeating Costa Rica 1-0 in a friendly to wrap up the USMNT’s annual January training camp.

Of particular note is that the player who scored the winner for the U.S. was a debutant, a local and a former LA Galaxy academy/LA Galaxy II player, Ulysses Llanez. Now a full pro at German club Wolfsburg, the 18-year-old won a penalty early in the second half and stepped up to convert the spot kick himself, a fairly auspicious beginning for the attacker.

Among current Galaxy players, Sebastian Lletget went the full 90 for the U.S., while Giancarlo Gonzalez went the distance for Costa Rica in the loss. Defender Julian Araujo did not make his senior debut in front of his home crowd, the youngster apparently on the “train and observe” track many youngsters have gone through since Gregg Berhalter took over as head coach.

More news for your Monday:

  • Some analysis of that USMNT win: If you’re looking for some water cooler talking points and a basic breakdown, Matt Doyle has a nice analysis of the game at MLSsoccer.com.
  • Los Dos sign defender: Preseason is ramping up for Los Dos, too, and the club announced they have signed defender Isaac Bawa, out of Azusa Pacific. The 22-year-old also played in USL League Two for FC Golden State Force the last two years. LA Galaxy II kick off their regular season March 8 at Rio Grande Valley FC.
  • Skjelvik loaned out for 2020: If you missed it, the Galaxy have officially loaned out defender Jorgen Skjelvik to Danish club OB for the year.
  • Chicharito was courtside for Kobe tribute at Staples Center: Friday night’s emotional return to action for the Los Angeles Lakers featured an extended memorial/celebration of Kobe Bryant pregame, and two seats were left empty courtside in tribute to Bryant and his daughter Gianna, who also died in the crash. Apparently, Chicharito sat right next to those chairs. Small world.

Today’s question: There was a lot of chatter prior to Saturday’s USMNT game about sluggish ticket sales and few people coming out. While the official attendance ended up being a little over 9,000, why do you think so many stayed away from this game? Let’s chat about it or whatever you like in the comments below!