March 25, 2013 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Los Angeles Galaxy
CARSON, Calif. - The LA Galaxy's teen forwards made quite an impression in Saturday'svictory over the Colorado Rapids, doing everything except put the ball in the back of the net. It's a goodthing Bruce Arena & Co. have so much confidence in them, because they could getthe call again Saturday - and maybe in the big CONCACAF Champions League clashesthat follow.
The calf injury Robbie Keane sustained in Ireland's draw Friday at Sweden, a knock which willkeep him out of the Republic's World Cup qualifier Tuesday in Dublin against Austria,could prod Arena to stick with Jose Villarreal and Jack McBean next weekend inToronto and perhaps for the following week's CCL semifinal first leg against Monterrey.
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Villarreal, 19, and McBean, 18, were on the end of nearly a dozen opportunities againstthe Rapids. With better fortune, both would have scored, and LA would romped to aresult more reflective of their dominance.
OPTA Chalkboard: Galaxy take commanding lead in shots
"I think they did well tonight," Arena said following the match. "Eachcould have had a goal perhaps, but I think Colorado's goalkeeper played well."
Clint Irwin made big stops on both in the first 10 minutes, knocked down a blisteringVillarreal shot just before halftime, and smothered McBean at the finish to keepColorado close until the final whistle.
Villarreal also nearly scored with a chip that Diego Caldeo"n cleared off the line,injuring himself in the process, and McBean - superb all night at holding the ball inadvanced positions - headed off the mark twice from good service.
"It brings back some memories when we played together with the Academy, and I hada lot of fun with him," Villarreal said. "I think that me and Jack did a good job. We justwent at the defenders. We didn't care if they were veterans in the league or not. It's amatter of us implementing our style of play and our aggressiveness."
Both rued missed opportunities - Villarreal said he had "a couple that I should haveput away," and McBean, making only his fifth MLS appearance in three seasons, saidhe needed to "put one in next time" - but their teammates were ecstatic with theircomposure and tenacity.
"They were all over the field. They had a great game and were unlucky not to score,"defender Todd Dunivant said. "Maybe the youngest forward duo that I've ever playedwith, but they were great. They were fearless. That's probably what makes them asgood as they are because they don't even know what they're doing, which is a goodthing.
"There is brashness there, and it works for them. Jose is taking shots and he'saggressive, and Jack is holding up the ball there for us, and that stuff is going to add up.Those guys are going to be big for us."