LA Galaxy II’s ninth season will kick off on Saturday, when they face San Diego Loyal at Torero Stadium in San Diego. To get ready for the Galaxy’s reserve team season, let’s run a ruler over what we know ahead of the campaign.
LA Galaxy II: 2021 record - (11W-15L-6D, 6th place in Pacific Division)
In 2021, Los Dos did what many MLS2 teams do in this circuit — struggle to maintain consistency. While they were capable of going toe-to-toe against any opponent they faced, which has been a hallmark of their history, the youthful mistakes came up to haunt them a few too many times, with the club missing the playoffs for just the third time in their history.
Having said that, with the team being a reserve side for the MLS squad, development is a priority, and while Los Dos have balanced that remit with maintaining a competitive spirit, results are not the be all and end all for this team.
Head coach: Yoann Damet (first season)
Key arrivals: Michael Salazar, Liam Doyle
Key departures: Jorge Hernandez, Jesus Vazquez
Most of the players signed to USL Championship deals to start the 2022 season for Galaxy II are returning from last year’s squad, with the likes of Salazar, Doyle and Dante Campbell all offering previous pro experience at this league level. The departure of Hernandez, 2021’s breakout player who signed a pro deal with a Ukrainian team (no word on what’s happening there amidst a war in that country) is a blow, as Los Dos have lost their breakout players from the last two years. Still, expect the Galaxy II squad to be supplemented both by Galaxy first-team players — the likes of Cameron Dunbar, Jalen Neal and Marcus Ferkranus likely to split their time this season — and by Galaxy Academy players.
Player to watch: Preston Judd
The rookie was impressively prolific in 2021, scoring 17 goals for Los Dos. Despite that, he didn’t get a ton of shine, with the likes of Hernandez and defender Josh Drack drawing most of the plaudits. We’ve seen Galaxy II strikers impress in the USL Championship and falter at MLS level, but if Judd can put together another impressive season, he may earn an MLS look the hard way down the line.
Why you should watch in 2022
This is pretty easy: If you want to see a Galaxy contributor of the future, this is the place to do it. The likes of Efrain Alvarez, Daniel Steres and Nick DePuy have earned their stripes with the reserve side before successfully making the step up to MLS over the years. The quality of the USL Championship is not MLS level, don’t get me wrong, but it’s generally better than you might expect. And while Damet is the new coach and we don’t know how they will play, Los Dos is a team that has traditionally played pretty exciting soccer, so you should see crisp passing and a quick style of play continuing.
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