Photo courtesy LA Galaxy II
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy II got an outstanding strike from Ariel Lassiter to earn a 1-0 victory against Rio Grande Valley FC on Sunday night at StubHub Center Track and Field Stadium. The game opened quietly, but in the 21st minute Lassiter opened the scoring with a thunderous strike from 25 yards into the top-left corner of the net to give Los Dos the lead. Jack McBean also had a chance blocked behind by Kai Greene a few minutes later, while a pair of chances for the Toros to respond for Todd Wharton and Kyle Murphy missed the target. The Galaxy II continued to look the more dangerous side in the attacking third, though, and McBean attempted to emulate Lassiter’s prior strike with one of his own that RGVFC goalkeeper Borja Angoitia turned over the crossbar. RGVFC went close early in the second half as a low cross by T.J. Casner almost found Murphy making a near-post run, and Wharton almost leveled with a header in the 66th minute only for Los Dos goalkeeper Bennett Sneddon to make a good reflex save to turn it wide. Lassier missed out on his second goal of the night moments later as a floated cross by Raul Mendiola found him free in the penalty area. Mendiola also forced a good save from Angoitia as a deflected pass came to the Galaxy II attacking midfielder 20 yards out for a shot to the right corner. RGVFC pushed hard for an equalizer in the final 10 minutes, but the Galaxy II held firm to earn their third home win of the season.
21’ – LA – Ariel Lassiter (Raul Mendiola)
Three Things That Matter:
1. The Galaxy II’s victory kept their slim playoff hopes alive, but maybe as importantly put another dent in the chances that the Toros would return to the postseason for a second consecutive season. RGVFC’s winless streak is now at five games as it was unable to find a way to take advantage of the results on Saturday in the Western Conference, as the side remained five points out of the final playoff position with only six games left in its regular season.
2. A proven goal-scorer at the USL level since his arrival with the side in 2015, Ariel Lassiter has been positioned between Los Dos and the Galaxy’s MLS squad this year, and with his first-half strike showed why he’s been in consideration so regularly for minutes in the top flight this season. Lassiter’s long-range strike was his fourth goal of the season in seven appearances for Los Dos this season, and was another outstanding finish during a weekend that saw plenty of highlight-reel material in the past two days.
3. Needing a win to try and resuscitate their playoff hopes, the Toros came out far more brightly in the second half than in the first, and produced some good chances to find an equalizer. That they didn’t was a testament to a good performance by Galaxy II center backs Jeffrey Payeras and Hugo Arrellano, with U.S. U20 international Arellano putting in a strong performance with two tackles and three clearances on the night. The Galaxy II struggled defensively earlier in the season, but have now recorded two shutouts in their last five games, and conceded five goals in that span, a positive sign as the side looks to end the season strongly.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Ariel Lassiter, LA Galaxy II – Lassiter’s outstanding strike decided the contest in the first half as Los Dos took a big home win to try and close the gap on the playoff positions.
LA Galaxy II vs. Reno 1868 FC – September 6, 10:30 p.m. ET, StubHub Center Track and Field Stadium
Rio Grande Valley FC vs. Sacramento Republic FC – September 9, 8:30 p.m. ET, H-E-B Park