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LA Galaxy II 2022 Season Preview

By NICHOLAS MURRAY - nicholas.murray@uslsoccer.com, 03/04/22, 5:00PM EST

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2022 Outlook

The LA Galaxy II were poised for a second consecutive trip to the postseason with three games to go in the campaign, but defeats in all three contests meant Los Dos slipped below the playoff line to spoil what had been a highly entertaining season at Dignity Health Sports Park. Now as the side prepares for its ninth and final season in the USL Championship, the young squad will be hoping to go out on a high note after earning silverware previously in its time in the league.

The side will have new leadership on the sidelines with Yoann Damet taking the reins from Junior Gonzalez, who departed to join the new staff led by Ezra Hendrickson at Chicago Fire FC. Damet is no stranger to the Championship, however, having served as an assistant coach at FC Cincinnati during the club’s time in the league as well as serving as interim Head Coach for FCC in Major League Soccer in 2019 and 2020. The young French coach will have some notable pieces returning to the side, led by leading scorer Preston Judd – who notched 17 goals in his first professional campaign – and goalkeeper Eric Lopez.

The key player Los Dos will have to try and replace, however, is Jorge Hernandez, who departed for Europe after earning Championship All-League First Team honors with 12 goals, six assists and a league-high 91 chances created in the regular season. Given the talent in the Galaxy’s Academy ranks, it will be intriguing to see who might step up as the next potential star in Los Dos’ firmament after the ascendance of current Galaxy players Julian Araujo, Efrain Alvarez and Jalen Neal.


Notable Arrivals

Michael Salazar, Forward – The Belize international will join Los Dos’ attack as a veteran presence

Alan Solorio, Goalkeeper – Former Cal State Dominguez Hills goalkeeper joins the pro ranks with Los Dos

Dante Campbell, Defender – Canadian defender competed for Toronto FC II in Championship, League One

Liam Doyle, Defender – Veteran defender makes move west to bring experience to back line


Notable Departures

Jorge Hernandez, Midfielder – Championship All-League selection signed with Chornomorets in Ukraine

Jesus Vazquez, Defender – Veteran center back made move to Rio Grande Valley FC

Mauricio Cuevas, Midfielder – Signed with Club NXT – Second Team for Belgium’s Club Brugge – as free agent


Two to Watch


Josh Drack, Defender

Selected in the First Round of the 2021 MLS SuperDraft, Josh Drack produced impressively as a two-way fullback with nine assists as well as two goals after signing with the Galaxy II to start his professional career. Drack’s assist number could be an outlier – his Expected Assists mark was just 3.06xA – but his defensive numbers elsewhere made him a solid part of Los Dos’ back line. A second

strong season could provide the opportunity for more success for the Galaxy II on the field, and the chance for bigger things for Drack individually as his career progresses.

Preston Judd, Forward

Another first-year professional in the 2021 season, Preston Judd didn’t earn the All-League accolades of now-departed teammate Jorge Hernandez but his prolificacy in front of goal with 17 goals at a strike rate of a goal every 143.1 minutes in his first season certainly brought him worthy attention. The 22-year-old led the Galaxy II with a +8.61 Goals Added mark over the regular season – putting him 11th in the league overall – while also notching three assists and 23 key passes. The big question for the Las Vegas native will be whether he can replicate that performance in his second campaign. If he can, then there could be a big future ahead of him in LA.


Coach


Yoann Damet (1st Season)

Yoann Damet will lead the LA Galaxy II for the club’s final season in the USL Championship, and brings the sort of experience that could help the side end with a flourish after nine seasons in the league. A former assistant coach at the then-record setting FC Cincinnati side that topped the league in 2018, Damet returns to the coaching ranks after a year off following his departure from FCC in 2020.


Key Number


0.02According to Opta, the LA Galaxy II posted an Expected Goals mark of 51.73xG in the 2021 regular season, and an Expected Goals Against mark of 51.75xGA, a differential of -0.02. Maintaining the first number while pulling the second down would see Los Dos vie for a sixth postseason berth.

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