Preston Judd scored his first career hat trick as a professional, but unfortunately the outstanding performance did not deliver LA Galaxy II three points, as they lost 4-3 to Las Vegas Lights FC on Wednesday at the Dignity Health Sports Park complex.
In a wild game between two young teams, they both had spells with the lead, but a second-half brace from Christian Torres ultimately cancelled out Judd’s banner night and the teams have now split the season series halfway through their meetings this year.
Judd’s hat trick started early, as he had a perfect looping header off Axel Picazo’s cross that nestled inside the far corner to give Los Dos a 1-0 lead in the 5th minute.
But Alvaro Quezada had a quick response for Las Vegas, scoring off a well-timed throughball in the 9th minute to make it 1-1.
Then Las Vegas took the lead in. the 13th minute, with Danny Musovski beating Jonathan Klinsmann on another throughball, this one through the center backs, to give the visitors the 2-1 lead.
But Judd got his second goal just before halftime, as he took a throughball from Taylor Davila and beat Las Vegas GK Tomas Romero to make it 2-2 heading into the break.
This was a game that seesawed back and forth, and Las Vegas finally got the lead for good just after the hour mark, substitute Christian Torres finishing off a play initiated by Bryce Duke that left Galaxy defenders a bit flummoxed.
Torres grabbed his second goal of the night two minutes later, an insurance tally that turned out to be the game-winner, as LA were tripped up by yet another throughball.
Credit to Los Dos for continuing to fight, and Judd wrapped up his hat trick in the 67th minute, as he cleaned up a loose ball in the box and made it 4-3.
Judd nearly had a fourth goal with about 15 minutes left to go, but his effort clanged off the post.
But while Los Dos pushed, they couldn’t find the final equalizer and now have dropped two games in a row. They remain in 2nd place in the Pacific Division, but part of that is on the basis of them having played more games than anyone, and they’ll have to hope their rivals drop points if they want to maintain their place.
Galaxy II will have a week off until they face Orange County SC on Wednesday. With the Galaxy first team entering a stretch where they’ll face some fixture congestion, we may see some of the first team loanees featuring less, and it’s unclear if that will help or hinder the cause moving forward for Junior Gonzalez’s men. To be determined.
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