Photo courtesy LA Galaxy II
The LA Galaxy II missed out on the USL Cup Playoffs for the first time in club history after a disappointing season in 2017, as Los Dos failed to string together two wins in a row to end well off the pace in the Western Conference. Bringing in players with overseas experience like former Atlas FC signing Robert Castellanos and former U.S. U20 Men's National Team selection Justin Vom Steeg failed to bring the experience needed to push Los Dos forward as the side struggled defensively for much of the season.
Young talent continued to be the story for Los Dos in the 2017 season, with talent emerging from the LA Galaxy Academy led by USL 20 Under 20 No. 3 selection Ethan Zubak. Others including Justin Dhillon, Jonathan Hernandez, and Efrain Alvarez – who became the youngest signing in USL history upon his addition to the squad, and notched an assist in his professional debut – all joined the club this year, and those seeds will be expected to bear fruit in Head Coach Mike Munoz's second season in charge of the squad in 2018.
Record: 8-19-5, 29pts
Place: 13th in the Western Conference
Goals For: 32
Goals Against: 64
USL Cup Playoffs: Did not qualify
2017 leaders: Justin Dhillon, Adrian Vera (6 goals), Ethan Zubak (3 assists), Eric Lopez (54 saves)
At times throughout the season LA Galaxy II looked great, showing the attacking talent that the club had at its disposal while playing some entertaining soccer. Victories on the road against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC and the New York Red Bulls II in the first meeting between the two clubs, and a thrilling 4-3 win against the Portland Timbers 2 showed off the best of the club's attacking ability, with former Academy standout Ethan Zubak continuing to shine as the U.S. Youth international's progression continued alongside his youthful counterparts.
Defensively Los Dos struggled, conceding a league-worst 64 goals in the season as some of the league's top teams took the chance to feast on a lack of organization that left the defense too open on a consistent basis. That poor defense made it difficult for Los Dos to string results together, with the club's longest undefeated streak coming between July 9th to August 2nd when it notched two wins and two draws as the side finished 16 points off the pace for the USL Cup Playoffs in the Western Conference.
Ethan Zubak made history against Sacramento Republic FC at Papa Murphy's Park, scoring the opening goal after just 10 seconds to notch the fastest goal in USL history. Controlling well on a long ball directly off the kickoff, Zubak unleashed a powerful shot into the left corner of the net to open the scoring in the all-California battle.
Already facing a three-goal deficit against Sacramento Republic FC at the StubHub Center Track and Field Stadium, Eric Lopez pulled off a strong reflex stop to deny Tyler Blackwood's volleyed finish after a well-worked play down the right side for the visitors.