ATLANTA UNITED AND LA GALAXY SHARE THE POINTS TO REMAIN ATOP GROUP B

By Jeremy Reid

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (June 20, 2018) - Atlanta United U-18/19 and LA Galaxy U-18/19 played to a 1-1 draw in Wednesday's first feature game of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs at SoCal Sports Complex. Blake White's opening goal for Atlanta was canceled out by a strike from LA Galaxy's Ulysses Llanez as both teams head into Friday's final round of group play on four points.

White opened the scoring for Atlanta United in the 64th minute. The Atlanta United midfielder collected the ball 35 yards from goal and unleashed a dipping blast that found its way past LA Galaxy goalkeeper Eric Lopez to open the scoring with his 10th goal of the year and third goal of the playoffs.

Nine minutes later, LA Galaxy pulled level on a goal from Ulysses Llanez, assisted by Efrain Alvarez. Llanez collected a pass on the left wing from Alvarez and made a couple of moves to cut inside on his right before firing a shot past Atlanta United goalkeeper Justin Garces at the near post for his second goal of the playoffs.

With the two teams still even late in the game, the best chance to grab a winner fell to the LA Galaxy as Llanez nearly scored a second. After collecting a cross from the right wing, the LA Galaxy forward's first shot deflected straight back to him off Garces and his second effort hit the side-netting as the contest ended, 1-1.

"This group has massive experience and the mentality of the group is tremendous," said LA Galaxy head coach Brian Kleiban. "For 90-plus minutes they know they have to stick to the script, be it up 1-0, 2-0, 3-0, or down 1-0. They didn't get flustered, they stayed disciplined, created four or five more chances, we equalized and I think we should have won the game as well."

LA Galaxy had the majority of the possession in the opening 45 minutes, but neither team was able to find a breakthrough as the game went to halftime scoreless.

The first chance of the contest came to the Galaxy in the 11th minute as Alex Mendez played Llanez in behind the Atlanta United defense down the left wing and Llanez forced the first save of the game from Garces.

The Atlanta United goalkeeper was called into action again in the 25th minute as Carlos Anguiano found himself with a little space near the top of the box, but his shot was easily held by Garces. On the other end, Lopez was called into action in goal for the Galaxy two minutes later as a cross from the right side found the head of Dawson Gideon, but he wasn't able to get much power on his header and Lopez easily claimed the ball out of the air.

LA Galaxy had two more quality opportunities to open the scoring before the interval. Jorge Hernandez found Aristotle Zarris with space heading towards goal but a long-range effort from Zarris was tipped over the bar by Garces in the 31st minute.

Seven minutes before halftime, Llanez played a good cross field switch to Hernandez and his shot was palmed away by Garces in goal for Atlanta United to keep the game knotted, 0-0.

LA Galaxy was on the front foot right away to start the second half as Zarris got in behind the Atlanta United defense in the 47th minute and forced a fine save from Garces. Off of the ensuing corner, Mendez's shot was headed toward the top corner until Garces made a spectacular save at full stretch to keep the game deadlocked.

Atlanta United will close Group B against Montreal Impact while LA Galaxy will meet Houston Dynamo in the final game of the group stage. Both games will take place on Friday, June 22 at 1:30 p.m. PT.