With Sacramento Republic FC set to kick off the 2021 USL Championship regular season Friday against LA Galaxy II, we’re previewing all the teams that will make up their main competition this season, from the Pacific Division. Up next, Galaxy II. I got this one.
Key players out: Abraham Romero, Adrian Vera
Key players in: Alex Alcala, Miguel Avalos, Axel Picazo, Taylor Davila, Josh Drack
Head coach: Junior Gonzalez, 2nd full season.
What’s new for Galaxy II in 2021?
Well, we’ll see. There was some roster turnover in the offseason but the general profile for the team remains the same: Youthful, made up primarily of players from the academy or first team who are called up or down, and ultimately a team of prospects. They have just two players over the age of 23 on the roster heading into the season.
One thing that may be new this season is we will likely see the return of loans from the MLS side down to Los Dos. In 2020, Galaxy II didn’t need their loanees and you could argue that it may have helped the team’s cohesion, as the same group got regular playing time and really hit their rhythm. Still, getting occasional reinforcements should help the team’s talent level overall and possibly help smooth out any MLS2 team inconsistencies.
Will this team play differently this season?
Another good question, and while time will tell, I don’t think there will be major changes. Under Junior Gonzalez, in 2020 Los Dos were terrific in terms of their style of play. They were quick, comfortable pinging passes at speed to each other, and often playing very well vertically. Going against the very good independent teams in their group last year, Los Dos generally did not look out of place and often gave opponents fits.
With the Galaxy first team now under new management, and that coach, Greg Vanney, appearing to take a genuine interest in what’s happening with the reserve team, we may see some tweaks in terms of playing style to align more with the MLS team over time. But with Vanney still trying to implement his style and Los Dos looking great last year, I imagine they aren’t going to try to fix what wasn’t broke at USL Championship level.
Can Galaxy II make it back to the playoffs?
Absolutely they can. They’ve reached the playoffs five of seven seasons and the last three. They played in arguably the hardest group last year and beat out Orange County SC and San Diego Loyal to make the playoffs, and did it completely under the radar. Given the young roster, filled with teenagers, likely movement in and out of the squad this season, and normal concerns like possible injuries along the way, nothing is guaranteed, and the Pacific Division will be a dogfight. But if they play as well as they did in 2020, they can easily be a playoff team again. Even if they are more uneven this year, they’ll still likely play a big role in determining who is in the playoffs since they have experience beating far more veteran teams.
Games against Sac Republic in 2021:
- April 30: at LA Galaxy II
- Sept. 1: at LA Galaxy II
- Sept. 26: at Sac Republic
- Oct. 13: at Sac Republic
What do you think? Leave a comment below.