For everything the SuperClasico between the full teams was later in the evening, the academy game was the exact opposite. Five goals, one coach sent off, and lots of controversy built up the storyline in the morning at the Home Depot Center when the MLS youth academies of Los Angeles faced-off.
The action started midway through the first half when Galaxy forward Dylan Seedman beat the offside trap, rounded the Chivas USA keeper, and easily notched the opening goal. Seedman was set free by a splendid chip from Duke University-bound midfielder Riley Wolfe, which punished the high line defense from the Goats.
Galaxy carried that lead into the half as the sun broke through on a rather gloomy morning in Carson, Calif. With the rising temperature, the play livened up in the second half as the two teams combined for four goals in the second stanza.
Chivas USA nearly had its first goal in the 56th minute when Bryan de la Fuente was brought down in the box. The 18-year-old’s ensuing penalty kick clanged harmlessly off the post. However, De la Fuente would not be deterred on the day and his positive play would be rewarded ten minutes later.
“After I missed the PK, thanks to God I scored two goals [later in the game],” Chivas USA’s Home Grown player told Goal.com after the game.
“It shows what kind of player he is,” Van der Most said about the player of the game. “[De la Fuente] could have disappeared after the PK, but he stepped up and showed he is tough.”
In between De la Fuente strikes, Chivas USA center back Eric Corona grabbed a goal of his own. Corona side-volleyed a rebound home after Christian Carrillo’s header was saved off the goal line following a corner kick.
With Chivas USA leading late in the game, Galaxy was forced to push numbers forward. The increased pressure created a rather bizarre sequence that led to the tying goal in the first minute of stoppage time. The movement started with a long ball over the top of the Chivas USA defense, keeper Diego Chacon came out to grab the bouncing ball but inexplicably punched the ball directly toward Galaxy substitute Cameron Souri, who immediately saw the open net and notched the equalizer.
However, the assistant referee raised his flag and deemed that a Galaxy forward, who did not touch the ball mind you, was in an offside position. After a lengthy deliberation - and the sending off of an irate Galaxy academy coach - the referee correctly awarded a goal.
Given the lengthy delay, there was a healthy amount of stoppage time added on for Chivas USA to find the game-winner. In the 94th minute, it was again De la Fuente who would be the hero for half of the bipartisan crowd. The midfielder made a splendid turn in front of the Galaxy defense and ripped a right-footed effort past the keeper from 20 yards out with mere seconds remaining on the clock.
“It feels good to beat our rival,” De la Fuente said after the game. Three weeks earlier, the two teams battled to a chaotic 2-2 draw.
The win on Saturday keeps Chivas USA U-18 firmly in the second spot in the SoCal Division standings with only two games remaining on the schedule. The top two teams from each division in the Development Academy receive an automatic playoff berth.
“It is just another win,” Van der Most said after the game slightly downplaying the rivalry for a moment. “It feels really good to win in the last five minutes after losing the last three games in the final five minutes.”
Later in the day, the U-16 teams battled to a 2-2 draw. Chivas USA would be on the front foot early with a goal in the first ten minutes from captain Sergio Cervantes that was assisted by Jesus Jimenez.
Following the goal, Galaxy dominated possession, but could not produce the final pass in the attacking third. It took a spectacular effort from Willie Raygoza to finally break through the unyielding defense. The crafty midfielder lifted a perfectly placed shot over the Chivas USA keeper to level the score minutes before half time.
The two sides exchanged goals in the second half before settling on a point apiece. The result left Galaxy at the top of the Wild Card standings with the best point per game average in the country of non-automatic qualifiers. Chivas USA U-16 is mathematically eliminated from the playoff race, but still have two games remaining in its league schedule before the showcase event in Frisco, Texas in late June.
Galaxy Academy returns to the field on Saturday against Arsenal at Mt. Sac College. Chivas USA travels out to Arizona this weekend to face off with RSL-AZ in an important clash for both U-18 teams.
J.R. Eskilson is the Youth Soccer Editor at Goal.com. If you have a comment or an idea for a story, you can email him at jr.eskilson [@]gmail.com. Or follow him on Twitter @NCAAsoccer
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