LAFC and LA Galaxy Teenagers named MLS Team of the Week after dramatic late goals

Major League Soccer teams based in Los Angeles were in precarious situations this weekend. On Saturday night, the heavily favored LA Galaxy were tied 0-0 with less than 15 minutes remaining against expansion side Charlotte FC and their MLS record of over 74,000 fans. On Sunday, LAFC lost 1-0 in stoppage time to 2021 MLS Cup runners-up, the Portland Timbers.

Everything changed when a pair of 19-year-olds came forward and scored spectacular late goals to salvage points for their teams. Efrain Alvarez scored on a crier for the LA Galaxy to win the game. And defender Mamadou Fall tapped one to save a draw for LAFC.

These incredible performances from two of LA’s youngest soccer stars earned them a spot on the MLS Team of the Week.

The LA Galaxy and LAFC are both veteran teams

Last season, there was no MLS playoff season in the Greater LA area. The LA Galaxy and LAFC finished eighth and ninth respectively in the Western Conference, just past the seven-team playoffs per conference.

During the offseason, the LA Galaxy brought in three top veterans to help propel them to the playoffs this season. Second-year manager Greg Vanney brought in midfielder Mark Delgado, who he coached at Toronto FC. The franchise also recruited versatile winger Raheem Edwards from LAFC.

More importantly, the franchise brought in 31-year-old Brazilian superstar Douglas Costa from Bayern Munich to link up with another longtime away goalscorer, Chicharito.

In downtown LA, LAFC has also added experience around its established star forward, Carlos Vela. USMNT offensive midfielder Kellyn Acosta came from the Colorado Rapids. The team also acquired Vancouver Whitecaps goaltender Maxim Crepeau, Atlanta United defender Franco Escobar and NYCFC forward Ismael Tajouri-Shradi.

Both of these veteran-laden teams looked good in the first week of the 2022 MLS season. LAFC beat Colorado Rapids 3-0 and LA Galaxy beat NYCFC 1-0. However, both teams found themselves in close matches in the second week.

It was then that the unheralded teenage stars of both clubs intensified.

Efrain Alvarez and Mamadou Fall scored late goals to make MLS Team of the Week

Efrain Alvarez is a 19-year-old left-handed Mexican midfielder for the LA Galaxy. Despite his young age, he has actually been with the Galaxy for three years. The club brought him in at the age of 16, making him the seventh youngest player ever signed by an MLS team, by

Against Charlotte FC this week he came on in the 57th minute. Alvarez replaced the struggling Rayan Raveloson in front of an MLS-record 74,479 fan base for Charlotte’s first-ever home game. In the 77th minute, the youngster picked up a pass from Raheem Edwards and ran towards the Charlotte defenders.

With the defense hot on his heels, Alvarez pulled back from over 20 yards and unleashed a left-footed stopper that worked its way to the top right corner. It was a fine goal and gave his team the 1-0 victory.

Mamadou Fall (who wears his middle name, Mbacke, on the back of his shirt) is a 19-year-old, 6-foot-2 Senegalese centre-back. He signed with LAFC aged 18 in 2021 after coming to America via former Premier League (and Senegal national) star Salif Diao’s Sport4Charity Organization, per

Trailing 1-0 at Portland more than two minutes into stoppage time, Fall found himself almost on the goal line as LAFC winger Brian Rodriguez operated on the left. Rodriguez sent a low cross into the box that found Fall’s foot. The big man exploited it to earn a point for his team.

These outstanding performances and late goals from the young LA duo earned them spots on the MLS Team of the Week.

The rest of the MLS Team of the Week

LAFC’s Mamadou Fall and LA Galaxy’s Efrain Alvarez in the MLS Team of the Week are joined by a number of scorers from across the league.

New York Red Bulls Lewis Morgan has won Player of the Week honors. He scored a hat trick in the first half against Toronto FC.

Joining Alvarez and Morgan in TOW midfield are New England Revolution’s Carles Gil (one goal), Austin FC’s Sebastián Driussi (two goals) and Columbus Crew’s Lucas Zelarayán (two goals).

Initially, the awards went to Colorado Rapids scorer Diego Rubio and Portland Timbers Yimmy Chara, who, for the second week in a row, scored on an electrifying bicycle kick.

In addition to Fall, San Jose Earthquakes CB Francisco Calvo, who scored twice against Columbus, was part of the Team of the Week defense. So does Minnesota United guard Bakaye Dibassy.

In net for the MLS Team of the Week is Thomas Hasal of the Vancouver Whitecaps. The 22-year-old goalkeeper kept a clean sheet against defending MLS champions NYCFC.

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