GALAXY: Result isn't reserves' victory

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Let's be clear about this up front: The Galaxy wants to win its games in Major League Soccer's Reserve League.

That it has done so just once in seven outings isn't a problem.

Victory No. 2 probably should have arrived Sunday, when the Galaxy let a two-goal advantage disappear in a draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps. Curt Onalfo, L.A.'s reserve-team coach, liked enough of what he saw to consider that a positive result.

“There's a lot of things you're accomplishing with the Reserve League,” Onalfo said after the 2-2 draw at Empire Field. “Obviously, any time you step on the field, you want to win. Today's we're disappointed we didn't get three points, because we had a two-goal lead, and we had a chance to bury it, to make it 3-1 or 3-0, for that matter.”

That, he says, is “the learning process,” which might be the most important of the three primary aims of Reserve League play: developing the younger talent on the roster.

“It's better it happens in reserve games,” Onalfo said, “so when you're ready for the first team, you're honed and polished.”

The Galaxy (1-5-1) got the opportunity to hone several youngsters, starting a backline with three of the four slots occupied by rookies (Dan Keat and Dustin McCarty in the middle and Ryan Thomas on the left), getting a very good showing from rookie midfielder Hector Jimenez and giving two Academy kids -- one a new arrival from Mission Viejo-based Pateadores' U.S. Development Academy championship squad -- a little action against real pros.

They also saw trialist Paulinho Le Petit in a game situaton, and he wasn't bad, scoring the first goal, in the 31st minute, and coming close to netting another.

“He's a solid player,” Onalfo said. “Strong physically, good in the air. Good technique. Solid player.”

Jimenez, the Bell Gardens product out of Cal, was superb while playing in central midfield for the first time with the Galaxy and scored the second goal, from Jack McBean's feed, six minutes into the second half.

Long Tan scored both goals for the Whitecaps (0-3-2), in the 60th and 71st minutes, and Nizar Khalfan nearly got a 90th-minute winner, forcing a diving save from second-year goalkeeper Brian Perk.

The Reserve League is also designed to provide game time to players returning from injury -- Palos Verdes' John Thorrington saw his first action for Vancouver since April -- and those left on the sideline in the first-team games. L.A.'s has plenty need of all three, and the development portion, Onalfo says, is going well.

“We were talking about that today,” he said. “I nthink there were a lot of good things today. We're making good progress. I think our concentration is better now, more consistent over 90 minutes, not as sporadic. That part of it's been good.

“You can see throughout the course of the season, guys continue to develop [and] if you look throughout the team, we were solid all the way through. ... All that's steps in the right direction moving these guys along.”

WORTH NOTING: Jeffrey Payeras (Hawthorne/Animo Leadership HS), who came to the Galaxy from Pateadores, and fellow Academy midfielder Drew Murphy (Torrance/West Torrance HS) made their Reserve League debuts. Payeras played all of the second half, primarily in midfield and then in central defense when Murphy entered, and Onalfo praised him as “a beast of an athlete” and “a big boy for 17.” ... Paulinho Le Petit officially is on trial after the loan deal with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the second-tier North American Soccer League broke down over visa issues. (He would have had to leave the country to get his visa changed.) The Brazilian attacker played in an advanced role on the left flank. ... Pasadena's Peter Vagenas started in central midfield for the Whitecaps.


Empire Field (Vancouver)

Vancouver Whitecaps 2, Galaxy 2

LA -- Paulinho Le Petit 31

LA -- Hector Jimenez (Jack McBean) 51

V -- Long Tan (Ben Fisk) 60

V -- Long Tan (Alexandre Morfaw) 71

Vancouver Whitecaps: Jay Nolly; Wes Knight, Greg Janicki, Bilal Duckett (Derrick Bassi, 90), Russell Teibert; Jeb Brovsky, Peter Vagenas (Ben Fisk, 59), John Thorrington (Alexandre Morfaw, 21), Michael Nanchoff (Caleb Clarke, 77); Long Tan, Nizar Khalfan.

Galaxy: Brian Perk; Bryan Jordan, Dustin McCarty, Dan Keat (Drew Murphy, 85), Ryan Thomas; Paolo Cardozo, Chris Birchall (Jeff Payeras, 46), Hector Jimenez, Paulinho Le Petit; Miguel Lopez (Adam Cristman, 46), Jack McBean. Unused subs: Kyle Davies, Kevin Guppy.

Yellow card: Janicki 33.

Referee: Drew Fischer. Att.: 45.

Western Division standings

1. Seattle 7-0-0, 21 points

2. San Jose 3-2-1, 10

3. Portland 2-2-0, 6

4. Chivas USA 1-2-2, 5

5. Galaxy 1-5-1, 4

6. Vancouver 0-3-2, 2