Let me begin this review with a quick note on stadiums. Playing a USL match in an MLS facility is a mistake. I don’t care if your name is LA Galaxy, the II matters (or as they are known, Los Dos) . Average attendance for LA II last year was just a hair over 1,000. StubHub Center seats 27,000. So what you get is a lot, lot, lot of empty seats. Apparently the USL club typically plays in a smaller (capacity: 2,000) facility in StubHub Center’s area, and that makes sense. Them playing this match in the big club’s stadium, not so much. But what the Galaxy II lack in fan base, they have tons of talent including Home Grown talents Jack McBean and Bradford Jamison. The club has offensive talent for days and, at least in their first two matches, a back line that hasn’t been put to the test at all.
Facing them this evening was newly formed expansion team St. Louis FC. While StL FC is brand new, I hadn’t realized the long history of soccer in St. Louis, dating all the way back to the turn of the last century. Club after club has set up shop, achieved success and folded up over time. Maybe the most successful franchises were the St. Louis Steamers, an indoor soccer club that lasted 9 years (1979-1988). During the early 80s, they actually outdrew the St. Louis Blues four consecutive years. Clearly St. Louis FC has a foundation of soccer fans to draw in and it bodes well for their future success in USL.
The match started with Galaxy II pressing forward repeatedly, but the back line of StL again and again cleared each long pass. And for almost the entire first half of the match, it looked like it might work. But as I’ve said multiple times on the podcast, park the bus and you’ll pay eventually. In the 43rd minute, Scottish-American Home Grown Jack McBean took a quick pass around the keeper and drilled it in the back of the net to put Galaxy II up 1-0. A couple of minutes later, Columbian Bryan Rebellon (great last name!) slotted a pass off a defender but with enough spin to catch the left post and beat Mark Pais, the St Louis keeper, 2-0.
The second half was more of the same, with StL FC continuing to try to defend their way out of their first half hole. 55 minutes in, Bradford Jamison took a hard foul, resulting in a yellow card for the defender and a free kick for McBean. Dude buried it in the corner for his second goal and a 3-0 lead, which is how the game ended.
Overall, Galaxy II continues to look sharp, getting plenty of scoring chances and converting enough to win. St. Louis FC looks like they are coming together well defensively but have some work cut out to become more competitive.
- Jack McBean would be getting a cup of coffee in the MLS if he played for almost any other club. Galaxy simply have too many scoring forwards to consider moving him up at this point.
- St. Louis needs to develop some offense. Defense wins championships, but you still have to score at least once.
- Don’t play USL matches in MLS stadiums. Doesn’t work.