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Youngsters key Galaxy comeback victory over Whitecaps

GyasiZardesCelebratesGoalLAGalaxy1-VancouverWhitecaps (LAGalaxy)


Bruce Arena is well known for getting the most out of young players in Major League Soccer, and two of his youngest came through for him against one of the hottest teams in the league.

With an average age of 20, the Los Angeles Galaxy forward duo of Gyasi Zardes and Jose Villarreal each scored goals to give the Galaxy a 2-1 comeback victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night at the StubHub Center. The result ends a string of six matches unbeaten for the visiting Whitecaps.

Though the Galaxy came close to taking the lead on two occasions inside 10 minutes, the Whitecaps struck first. Against the run of play, Whitecaps forward Camilo was sent through on goal, finishing calmly to give the visitors the lead in the 19th minute. The goal was Camilo’s league leading 13th goal of the season.

Less than nine minutes later, the Galaxy equalized through the 19-year-old Villarreal. The U.S. Under-20 player tapped home a header towards the net by Omar Gonzalez though the play was originally called back for offside. Instead, after a long talk with the referee, the officials deemed it a good goal and the match was tied at 1-1.

In the 57th minute, the hosts finally found their breakthrough. Homegrown talent Gyasi Zardes ran onto a lofted pass into the box, sent a deft touch past Brad Rusin who slipped and fell, giving Zardes ample opportunity to score his third goal of the season, two of which have now been game-winners.

Galaxy goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini came up big in the 73rd minute with a kick save on Kenny Miller, holding the lead for his side.

Here are the match highlights:


  1. what do people mean by raw when describing a soccer player? I think its too vague of a description. In basketball if a player is raw it means he has the athletic and technical ability but that he is inexperienced . But most basketball players don’t really peak until several years in the NBA.

    With soccer, if a player is 21 and people are calling him raw, what does it mean? By 21 a soccer player must already have technique, tactics, and soccer IQ. At 21 it’s about mental ability and drive. So how would you describe Zardes? A great athlete but one who is behind on everything else?

    • Example–See Dempsey who went from nobody at 20 to one of the best US players ever, mostly because of hard work and dedication. Just 2 years ago a lot of people were declaring Altidore a big bust.

      • yes but all this doesn’t explain what the word “raw” means in a soccer context.

        Dempsey always had technique, tactics, and soccer IQ. He just lacked experience and the confidence that success brings. He was never “raw”

        I guess i’m asking what Zardes lacks that makes some call him raw. Is he tactically poor? technically poor? Is he just an athlete ?

      • It’s not that players don’t have a Soccer IQ, it’s just that it could always be higher. It’s hard to separate all these things. Zardes is certainly an excellent athlete, and he has the technical ability as evidenced by the goal he just scored. He makes good runs and knows how to move in the box, so he has a Soccer IQ.

        The thing about experience is that it isn’t a separate entity, it isn’t a separate statistic alongside all the other things you listed. It’s what increases all those other things, ideally. Dempsey was most certainly a raw player at one point in time. As he gained more and more experience, his technical ability, decision making, and confidence all increased. You can see that clearly through his career at Fulham. Zardes is raw because he has the athleticism (which is the only thing that doesn’t increase with experience). The rest of his game could definitely increase, on the other hand, which comes with experience. Hence, a “raw” player.

      • Look at it this way. You cant eat “raw” meat. All of the ingredients are there but you need to cook it. You are waiting for that end product. This kid has the ingredients. He just needs a bit more time over the fire before we can see a completed end product. He has pace, agility, guile and power but with a few more seasons (to “cook”) he can gain the awareness, position and technical qualities that you gain from competition at a higher level. He has the tools to succeed he just needs to learn for himself how he can make them blend together.

        Man Im hungry

  2. Both Villarreal and Zardes complement eachother well.

    Zardes has something special about him. Still a bit raw, but you can tell he will be a force in a few years.

  3. Bruce gave the boys a lot of freedom. All of those many, many chances were needed to get the goals for Zardes & Villarreal. The Plan is working.

  4. He is, but as a galaxy fan he is frustrating to watch. All of the talent is there but he is still very very raw. His decision making is no where near where i would expect it to be. Same as his finishing ability. He has a crazy engine on him though and he Makes very good runs.

    • A good summary of his present limitations. He has a lot of raw talent, but lacks consistency and game awareness. That should change with more playing time and he could be quite a good player in a couple of years.


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