The Top-Up Blow-Up: LA Galaxy II Lose To Sacramento Republic Again


Mar 21, 2015; Carson, CA, USA; A general view of the StubHub Center prior to the game between the Los Angeles Galaxy and Houston Dynamo. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

We here at The View From Avalon knew this was going to be a predictable outcome, that this wasn’t really going to be in doubt, but we didn’t think it would be over by halftime. Preki’s Sacramento Republic has struggled against Seattle Sounders FC 2 and Portland Timbers 2 so far this year. Yet, time and time again, they are able to defeat the likes of Curt Onalfo’s LA Galaxy II on a routine basis.

What does this say about Onalfo and his team and the way he manages his team, then? In Australian sports terminology, the term “top-up player” means a player signed for the sake of filling the capacity of a team’s list or roster, even if the quality is noticeably subpar in comparison to the opposition. (It’s British in origin.) Onalfo’s Los Dos are earning the unenviable reputation of top-up players who simply can’t hack it on a decent competitive side at the USL level, let alone MLS or even NASL, after getting deservedly smashed at Bonney Field by the defending league champions, 3-1, on Saturday night.

More from Los Angeles Galaxy II

Early on in the first half, Sacramento, who are wise to just consider the LA Galaxy II as just another opponent on the schedule, used their pace to establish possession and a majority of chances. Goalkeeper Patrick McLain was hoping to dictate the flow of the match as well. Los Dos’s Jaime Villareal had other plans in the fifth minute.

Jack McBean tried a shot in the sixth minute but no one was there to receive the pass from the left side. Sacramento were then able to respond in kind with a sequence in the seventh minute only to have a through ball intercepted. Defender Jason Bli received a knock in the ninth minute from Joaquin Rivas, although there wasn’t much to the challenge.

Sacramento’s Emrel Klimenta also got the “don’t argue” from Bli in the 11th. Klimenta had a header in the 13th minute sail over the bar but he did win a corner for Rodrigo Lopez, perhaps the one player that Los Dos cannot buy even a single break against. On the flip side, the Galaxy II’s route-one passing was not doing them any favors because it put them vulnerable to the counter without any numbers in the back.

Live Feed

Orange In The Oven

  • Stumbling Herons need to continue win streak against FC CincinnatiMLS Multiplex
  • Facundo Torres, Sebas Mendez and Pedro Gallese to Represent Their Countries in WC QualifiersO-Town's 11
  • Orlando City 2022 Match Preview: LA GalaxyO-Town's 11
  • MLS Weekly Update: CCL Heartbreak and Big Potential MovesO-Town's 11
  • Chicharito will Provide Proper Test for Orlando's Center BacksO-Town's 11
  • A big aerial collision took place in the 18th minute and Jack McBean was cautioned for a shove afterwards, a caution that a more experienced official would give a strict verbal to instead. That did motivate Sacramento to get their form going, and in the 19th minute, they were queuing up on Clement Diop.

    In the 21st minute, the aforementioned Lopez fulfilled one of our bold predictions, albeit early. With plenty of space and insipid defending, Lopez had plenty of time to make it 1-0. This was also made possible because, to the sheer disappointment and bemusement and perhaps horror of these top-up players from Los Dos…Ro-Ro was starting.

    In the 24th minute, Alejandro Covarrubias tried a set piece but to no avail. The transition from Sacramento fizzled out, and the ball possession battle continued. McBean was called for a handball in the 25th minute. In the 27th minute, Klimenta made it 2-0 on a breakaway shot from the right side, opening his scoring account. Bli failed to mark Klimenta and it was a 1-v-1. The floodgates were opening early with the high-pressure attack from Preki leaving major damage.

    Also piling up were the cards. Villareal was cautioned for a harsh challenge on Guzman in the 31st minute, and it was clear that the match referee was giving the league champions preferential treatment, of which Los Dos are not at fault. Ivan Mirkovic fouled Bradford Jamieson IV just outside the box in the 33rd minute. Bli came out for Oscar Sorto seconds later. The Republic’s Derek Foran was challenged by Covarrubias in the 35th minute but was not hurt.

    Soon after, the tempo slowed down, despite LA’s attempts to accelerate the pace, win possession and string some passes. In short, LA’s attempts to play the game properly, which they inherently can’t. Not in this house: in the 44th minute, Galaxy II defender Joe Franco conceded a Lopez corner that was initially saved by Diop, but the second chance was converted by David Estrada to make it 3-0, killing off the match before halftime.

    With the game in hand, Preki had a decision to make: keep the current lineup on the field to run up the score or ease in other players for minutes and depth in the second half. For the Galaxy II, scoring at least once would give this struggling club motivation into next week. Estrada was looking for a brace in the 48th minute but missed the upper right corner.

    A free kick from Covarrubias in the 51st minute was cleared by Foran and McLain via a collision in the box. That has summed up what has been a typical performance from Los Angeles. Another microcosm, in the 56th minute, a Villareal corner was cleared, as was the second chance. Ariel Lassiter came in to relieve Jamieson in the 56th minute. In the 57th minute, Lassiter finally opened up his scoring account to salvage some form of pride for Los Dos, even though the designated visitors still had an uphill battle to climb.

    Thus, the match returned to a ball possession battle. Guzman came out in the 64th minute for Zeb Taublieb, making his debut for the Republic. James Kiffe also came out for Nemanja Vukovic. In the 68th minute, Ryo Fujii came in for Villareal. Justin Braun, another player who had success against LA of late, had an attempt miss the top right corner in the 70th minute.

    The substitutions continued. Cameron Iwasa filled in for Estrada in the 70th and he was responsible for winning a couple of Guzman penalties in the first meeting this year. Speaking of penalties, the Tower Bridge Batallion were clamoring for one in the 74th minute, but it seemed that the referee was more interested in calling this match a final. Max Alvarez, another stalwart for Sacramento came in for Braun in the 75th minute of play.

    Daly was cautioned for a challenge on Lassiter in the 76th minute just outside of the box. The ensuing Lassiter set piece had the direction but had a little too much power. In the 80th minute, Klimenta kicked a shocker, which, given how the proceedings unfolded, was a rarity. Lopez’s 84th minute corner was low and the ensuing transition was cleared by McLain.

    Rivas had goal number four for the home side on a platter but kicked a shocker out on the full in the 87th minute of play. Lee Nishanian, who was the villain in the previous meeting, came in for the Galaxy to relieve Franco, thus exonerating him from any wrongdoing in the eyes of the View. There are, believe it or not, a few things to take from this performance: the Galaxy did not allow a goal in the second half, the Galaxy did not allow a goal in stoppage time, and the Galaxy outscored the Republic in the second half.

    Sadly, that pales in comparison to a first half of football that has been characteristic of the Galaxy II’s insipid start to the season. This club is in danger of not getting a victory to the ledger until summer, and one can imagine that Curt Onalfo will be feeling the pressure from the Galaxy front office. You can be a five-star teacher of the game to a team of top-up players, but that doesn’t mean you can be a competent manager of that said team if the players don’t produce. For Onalfo, the clock is ticking.

    LA Galaxy II

    Team Stats

    Sacramento Republic FC

    Team Stats

    LA Galaxy II Player Ratings
    Clement Diop 2, Jack McBean 3.5, Oscar Sorto NR, Bradford Jamieson IV 3, Raul Mendiola 4, Daniel Steres 4, Ariel Lassiter 6, Ryo Fujii NR, Jason Bli 1, Alejandro Covarrubias 4, Elijah Martin 3, Jaime Villareal 2.5, Joe Franco 3, Dave Romney 3, Lee Nishanian NR

    Sacramento Republic Player Ratings
    Patrick McLain 6, Derek Foran 6, David Estrada 8, Rodrigo Lopez 9, Nemanja Vukovic NR, Zeb Taublieb 4, Justin Braun 6, Ivan Mirkovic 6, Octavio Guzman 5, James Kiffe 6, Mickey Daly 7, Emrel Klimenta 8, Joaquin Rivas 6, Cameron Iwasa NR

    Keep it right here on The View From Avalon, part of the FanSided Network, for more Los Angeles Galaxy and LA Galaxy II news and current events.

    Next: Daniel Steres An Important Cog In LA Galaxy II's Wheel

    More from The View from Avalon