CARSON, Calif -- The U.S. Open Cup tournament is proving fruitful for 22-year-old LA Galaxy Homegrown Player Ariel Lassiter. Wednesday against Sacramento Republic he scored his second goal of the tournament, as he continues to show his developing skills.
The goal came just after halftime, off a free kick opportunity. The team had controlled the pace in the first half without a goal to show for it, so the players knew they had to start making their opportunities count.
For Lassiter, like many of his fellow younger players stepping up for the first team in this tournament, it’s an opportunity that isn’t being overlooked.
“It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do,” said Lassiter, “stepping on the field I always want to score.
“Getting the goal tonight is a plus and a confidence booster as well. I just want to keep it up.”
Both Lassiter and veteran Rafael Garcia lined up over the ball as the Galaxy looked to take the free kick in the 47th minute. Sacramento goalkeeper Evan Newton was in a position where he would not be able to see Lassiter’s kick if he got it over the wall. The angle had even the broadcast commentary team doubting whether it was one the youngster could put in the net, but Lassiter never doubted himself.
“I just focused on connecting it well and keeping it on target, and it went in the net.
“Cobi [Jones] can say what he wants, the ball went in the back of the net,” Lassiter quipped.
The change in attitude for the Galaxy from first to second half was noticeable, with the rapid-fire goals right out of the halftime locker room showing that a message got through to everyone. Head coach Curt Onalfo said he didn’t tear into his team, but rather felt that they just needed to stay the course.
“Score,” said Onalfo jokingly regarding his team talk. “Really the message at halftime was just keep doing what you’re doing. We had some opportunities early on and we didn’t convert, so I said when we get our next chance we’ve got to bury it and we did. It obviously took a little pressure off and then BJ gets another one.”
The introduction of team captain Jelle Van Damme at the start of the second half, however, was a planned move, as the Galaxy deal with depth issues going into their California Clasico showdown against the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday (10:30 pm ET | Univision, Facebook.com, MLS LIVE in Canada).
“No [the Van Damme sub] was planned. Dave Romney played five games in a row...In the case of Romney it’s just tired legs," Onalfo explained.
“Which is not something that you want to do in a game, have a planned sub, but we felt like under the circumstances, with the injuries to the backline it was the right thing to do.”