MLS NEXT Pro Matchday 23 was headlined by teams at the top of the table vying for their respective playoff berth clinches, but there is also a hotly contested battle for many to stay alive and avoid playoff elimination.
Those pressures will test the mettle of teams like LA Galaxy II, who are fighting that battle.
Riley Dalgado, a 17-year-old US men's national team prospect, can not be overlooked when calling Matchday 23 a success for Los Dos. The LA Galaxy Academy man was up to task in a 90+ minute shift against Real Monarchs on Saturday.
He played his part on the back line. Holding down the left back spot and helping his side to a clean sheet in a nervy game on the road where the Monarchs amassed 17 shots.
That feat is impressive enough, and the youngster added to the performance with a goal in the shootout that saw his side walk away with the coveted extra point after a 10-9 frame.
The composure to keep the clean sheet, the wherewithal to claim the shootout point, and the threat of elimination looming made for a very important performance from Los Dos, who must capitalize on the momentum moving forward.
With only four MLS NEXT Pro matchdays left, now’s the time to get hot and see if you can crash the playoff party. Knowing they can count on their youth should be a nice confidence boost for head coach Marcelo Sarvas and company as they march on that mission.
Galaxy II remains one of the teams to watch as the season is in the home stretch in Matchday 24. They take on Houston Dynamo 2 on Sunday, August 28 in a true six-pointer in terms of their mountain to climb in the playoff race. You can catch that match and several others on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.