Julian Araujo may be a natural right back, but that didn’t stop him from excelling for the LA Galaxy playing higher upfield on Saturday.
Araujo earned the start for Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s side and made the most of it in a 2-0 road win over Los Angeles. Not only did he impress at right wing, but he assisted on both of the Galaxy’s goals at Banc of California Stadium for his first multi-assist performance in MLS.
It was a new experience for Araujo this season, but he rose to the occasion against one of the top teams in the league.
“I’m just taking in all the information from the coaches, from all the staff and from the players who have played that position,” Araujo said postmatch. “I go in with the mentality that it’s just another game and it’s an opportunity to showcase myself.”
“I just take it game by game, play by play and having information from the midfielders, from the right back, the center backs, it just makes it a little easier for me. I knew my job was to stay inside and not let any balls be played inside, just play out wide and get there. It all comes easy when you have a team like we do.”
With the Galaxy looking to shore things up defensively, Schelotto started veteran Rolf Feltscher at right back and used the younger Araujo as a right winger who could also provide some defensive support. The move paid off in the first half with Araujo’s great service off a Galaxy corner kick being put away by fellow youngster Ethan Zubak.
The Galaxy iced the win in the second half with Araujo once again putting a cross into a dangerous spot. His cross bounced across LAFC’s box before being slotted away by Sebastian Lletget. It was another assist for Araujo, who completed 12 of his 15 passes on LAFC’s side of the field. In what was only his third league appearance of the season, Araujo was praised by Schelotto along with several other young players for their impacts in what could be a season-changing win for the Galaxy.
“I am very proud of the players we put on the pitch today, not because of their age, but because they deserved to play,” Schelotto said. “Players with not a lot of experience like [Julian] Araujo, Nick [Depuy], Efrain [Alvarez] in the second half, I am very happy for them. I am very proud of the team because they fought, and everyone knows we are coming from Orlando where we lost 6-2 against them.”
The U.S. Men’s National Team Under-20 and Under-23 prospect broke onto the scene in 2019 for the Galaxy, playing in 19 combined matches in his debut season. In only his third appearance of 2020, Araujo has already doubled his assist tally from last season and proved to Schelotto he can be used higher up field if needed.
Despite being a part of the 6-2 drubbing at the hands of LAFC in Orlando, Araujo and his Galaxy teammates were just focused on today’s match and trying to get the win. Now with an important three points and a first-ever road win over LAFC in their pockets, the team will look to carry that confidence into the rest of the summer schedule.
“Our main goal was to win and do whatever I need to do to help the team to three points,” Araujo said. “We all wanted to come here and win which is I think the first time we’ve done that. We all were upset with how poorly we played in the 6-2 defeat in Orlando, but we didn’t try and let that phase us coming into today. We knew if we worked together and had each other’s backs then we could win today. If we continue to play like that we can do anything.”
The busy schedule for the Galaxy continues this week at Dignity Health Sports Park with defending MLS Champions Seattle Sounders coming to town. After an impressive showing at LAFC on Saturday, Araujo could jump right back into the starting lineup as the Galaxy seeks a first win over Seattle since 2018.