Lompoc native Julian Araujo crossed a major milestone Wednesday night in Los Angeles.
Araujo, the former Lompoc High soccer standout in his second year playing for the LA Galaxy, scored his first professional goal in an MLS match against the Portland Timbers.
The former Brave likely won't score too many goals during his pro career as he's a starting right back on defense for the Galaxy.
Araujo scored at the 34-minute mark of the first half as the Galaxy trailed the Timbers 2-0.
A Los Angeles corner kick curved into the 18-yard box and was headed out by a Portland defender. The ball rolled to Araujo about 15 yards outside the penalty box. He took a soft first touch with his left foot to draw in a defender, then exploded slightly to his right with another touch of the ball, this time with his right foot. Araujo's third touch unleashed a rocket shot of his right foot.
The low shot crossed in front of goalkeeper Steve Clark and went in from the right side of the pitch to the left side of goal, bouncing in front of the keeper and into the lower corner of the net.
The 19-year-old Araujo didn't react much to his first goal as a professional as he was congratulated by several teammates. The Galaxy went on to lose the match 6-3.
The Galaxy have struggled this year, falling to 12th place in the Western Conference standings with 15 points and a 4-3-8 record. Portland is second in the conference with 27 points and an 8-3-4 record. The Galaxy have been outscored 30-21 on the season.
Meanwhile, there are reports of developments in Araujo's national team representation. The Lompoc native has represented the United States National Team throughout his youth career but is also being courted by the Mexican national team. Araujo has eligibility to play for either the U.S. or Mexico, as he has Mexican heritage.
MLS.com reported last month that Mexico manager Tata Martino has "showered praise" on Araujo and fellow Galaxy youngster Efrain Alvarez. Martino "also revealed his latest effort to get both players to commit to Mexico at the senior international level over the United States," the MLS report claimed.
Tom Marshall, a journalist for ESPNFC, reported that Martino spoke to Araujo in early September and "'told him that I want him to be part of the Mexican national team.' Family + agent will decide," Marshall reported. Marshall said Araujo would be a "huge get" for Mexico and considering "the player pool, his path to becoming a starter is relatively open."
Araujo played for the United States at 2019 FIFA Under-20 World Cup. After being called up by head coach, Gregg Berhalter, Araujo joined the U.S. senior team during its January camp. He did not make his first appearance with the senior team at that time.
Each meal came with a card of thanks from Julian, which read:
"When the sun rises, you are working. When the sun goes down, you continue working. Thank you for working with your hands, your mind, and your heart, cultivating hope for future harvests.
Yes we can!"
"Julian texted me Wednesday and said, 'Hey, workers here did so much for me, I wanted to give something back," said Lompoc High principal Paul Bommersbach.
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