LA Galaxy II took to the road for the first time in the 2021 USL Championship season, and returned to the win column, defeating Real Monarchs 2-0 at Zions Bank Stadium on Friday.
Los Dos rise up to 2W-1L-1D on the season, with the team looking like they’re already hitting an early-season stride, forwards Kai Koreniuk and Preston Judd tallying on the night.
Junior Gonzalez kept the Los Dos starting XI pretty consistent, with Judd coming in to start up top, Augustine Williams not on the squad for this game.
The Starting XI is set. ✨#SLCvLA | #LosDos pic.twitter.com/IoXzftnTUI— LA Galaxy II (@LAGalaxyII) May 15, 2021
The first 20 minutes were pretty sleepy, Real Monarchs getting more of the ball but neither team able to do much with it. LA midfielder Adrian Gonzalez picked up a yellow card in the 19th minute to stop a Monarchs counterattack.
A few minutes later Axel Picazo had a terrific cross into the box that a Real Monarchs defender had to clear out, or else it was a likely goal for Los Dos.
Koreniuk grabbed the lead in the 24th minute, as Gonzalez had a great low cross himself, this one connecting with the Dutch-American attacker who poked it home.
.@atlsr9 ➡️ @kkoreniuk = GOAL!— LA Galaxy II (@LAGalaxyII) May 15, 2021
Kai Koreniuk scores his second of the season to give #LosDos the lead. pic.twitter.com/Ag6FL3ZTf7
Shortly after that, LA goalkeeper Justin Vom Steeg was pressed into action to keep Real Monarchs from equalizing quickly.
NOPE @jvomsteeg with a massive save to keep the lead. pic.twitter.com/AbJzt6GXyN— LA Galaxy II (@LAGalaxyII) May 15, 2021
Galaxy II doubled their lead in the 44th minute, as Judd ran onto a throughball from Jorge Hernandez and hit a nice striker’s finish to send the visitors into the locker rooms feeling pretty good.
.@prestonjudd10 scores his 2⃣ of the season with a nice near post finish.#SLCvLA | 0-2 pic.twitter.com/HuzsnkMOjh— LA Galaxy II (@LAGalaxyII) May 15, 2021
After the whistle blew for the 2nd half, Galaxy II tried to push to get another goal on the board, with a couple early chances testing young Real Monarchs GK Jeff Dewsnup early, as he was forced into a double save to keep the scoreline at 2-0.
Dangerous back-to-back attempts by @ambitiouschiri & @axelpicazo01 #SLCvLA | 0-2 pic.twitter.com/2zEJYiEGIk— LA Galaxy II (@LAGalaxyII) May 15, 2021
Gonzalez exited the game in the 77th minute for Taylor Davila, LA’s first sub on the night. Victor Valdez entered in the 81st minute, for Picazo, while Isaac Bawa entered for Koreniuk at the same time. the final change on the night came in the 88th minute, as Felix Barajas replaced Josh Drack.
I think this was a really impressive performance. Even with Real Monarchs seemingly controlling the run of play for stretches, their chances were not as good as LA’s and Los Dos were absolutely clinical with their best looks on the night. Add to that this being the first road game, at altitude, and while I think playing against other MLS2 teams sometimes can make takeaways from games fool’s gold, I think this team looks absolutely competitive in the early matches of the season and they’re picking up points, like they need to.
Galaxy II are scheduled to be back in action next Wednesday, when they’ll host Sporting Kansas City II for another MLS2 vs. MLS2 clash. Sporting II haven’t been getting many results so far, but you never know how it will go on a given night.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.