Coach Mark Briggs and his young Monarchs are facing a new challenge this week with two matches only 3 days apart. Well rested due to a bye last weekend, the Monarchs will look to keep pace with the Western Conference leading San Antonio FC who currently sits 7 points ahead of them. At the same time they can pull away from the trio of teams, Colorado Springs Switchbacks, Swope Park Rangers, and Seattle Sounders 2, which are just 3 points behind them.
Behind all the splashy news stories about open tryouts in London and $2 Wine promotions, LA Galaxy II have started the season in a fashion very typical of their parent LA Galaxy with a record of 1-4-1 in their first six matches. Their sole victory was in the first match of the season against Whitecaps 2 at home in StubHub Center Track & Field Stadium where they are 1-1-1 while they have lost all three of their road games.
With 5 goals in their six games, Los Dos have struggled to find any consistency and offensive shape. 19 year-old forward Ethan Zubak leads the team with two goals and Adonis Amaya and Adrian Vera have one each. The fifth was an own goal gifted by Whitecaps 2 during their only victory.
Zubak (who is the only player to start all six), Vera and Ryo Fujii are the only three players on Los Dos to appear in all six matches this season. New head coach Mike Munoz has fully embraced the concept of “spreading the wealth” giving appearances to 29 different players in the six matches. LA Galaxy players Hugo Arellano, Bradley Diallo, Ariel Lassiter, Raul Mendiola, Bradford Jamieson, Baggio Husidic, and Jon Kempin have all made appearances.
Los Dos and the Monarchs have four previous regular season meetings. The Monarchs have a loss and a draw at both Rio Tinto and StubHub for an overall 0-2-2 record against Galaxy 2. A victory on Wednesday will be their first over Galaxy II in the regular season. However, during a spring training scrimmage earlier this year the Monarchs defeated Los Dos in SoCal 3-2.
What to watch for
While giving up an average of two goals per game, Galaxy II have proven to be stout on defensive at home when facing teams who were willing to play conservatively on the road in hope of a draw. At the same time they have lost big on the road against pressing offenses such as San Antonio (3-0 loss) and Orange County (4-0).
The young Galaxy II will attempt to possess the ball and build numbers slowly forward. On defense especially, Los Dos will not be afraid to foul in an attempt to slow play down.
All four goals and most of Galaxy II’s shots on goal have come from inside the box. It will be important for the Monarch’s back line and defensive midfielders to deny service into the box and mark tightly any players in the box.
If the Monarchs can continue their pattern of scoring in the first half and taking their attack into opponents half, they have a good chance of seizing control of this game and breaking it open. It will be important that they come off the 10 day layoff sharp and ready to play from the opening whistle. Los Dos have not shown any ability to rebound following early deficits and have been unable to press for a later goal in all of their matches.
Emilio Orozco, Chase Miner and Riggs Lennon continue to limited by injuries, but the remainder of the team appears to be healthy and ready to get back into action. With the ongoing turmoil at the parent club and conflicting travel schedules, this match may not see any players from RSL coming down unless for limited minutes in a rehab capacity.
Los Dos and the Monarchs will both be looking for a signature win, but for different reasons. Galaxy II suffered their worst defeat of the season to freeway rivals Orange County last weekend 4-0 and need to move forward. The Monarachs have a huge home match against Sacrament Republic on Saturday at Rio Tinto and need to not overlook this away match against an apparently weaker team.
Real Monarchs: (4-2-3-1) Putna; Curinga, Moberg, Peay, Lachowecki; Besler, Adams; Brody, Velasquez, Haber; Hoffman
LA Galaxy II: (4-3-3): Kempin; Juarez, Castellanos, Arellano, Lonergan; Mendiola, Fujii, Villarreal, Jamieson; Lassiiter, Zubak
When: Wednesday, May 10, 8:30pm MDT
Where: StubHub Center Track & Field Stadium — Carson, CA
Weather: 64 degrees, Mostly clear