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Lompoc native Julian Araujo gets a potential starting chance as Galaxy resume season
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Lompoc native Julian Araujo gets a potential starting chance as Galaxy resume season

Julian Araujo has a potential chance to start for the Los Angeles Galaxy in its MLS game against the Portland Timbers Monday in the MLS is Back Tournament.

Araujo, 18, played for Lompoc High School before joining the Galaxy. The Galaxy has occasionally featured Araujo as a winger.

A right back for the Galaxy, Araujo has played center back for the U.S. youth national team.

Alaxander Katai started both of the Galaxy's games at right wing before the season was suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He was released last month because of after the club found Katai's wife, Tea, posted racist and violent comments on social media.

With Katai gone, the Galaxy is without a true winger on the right flank.

"U.S. Internationals Sacha Kljestan and Sebastian Lletget may be asked to cover by shifting out wide but the more likely and possibly more beneficial decision would be to play Araujo out wide," onegoal.us said on its website.

Araujo played in 18 games last season for the Galaxy and notched an assist while also putting seven shots up and two on goal. He was hit with three yellow cards a season ago.

The Galaxy brought in some new players during the season suspension who can provide depth at the wing, but none are likely to be used heavily because they have no experience playing at the MSL level.

That leaves the door open for Araujo.

"The young fullback has shown he's capable of getting up the pitch and providing another attacking option," onegoal.us said on its website. "At the U.S. youth national team level, he's also demonstrated that he has the passing ability and vision to pick out teammates, whither it's via long balls or crosses.

"Araujo has been criticized for being a defensive liability in some aspects in the past, which is part of the reason why he was moved from center back to right back."

The website said, "Shifting him up the pitch where he can focus more on being an offensive threat would work in Araujo's favor, and provide the Galaxy with a suitable option at right wing until they can find a better long-term option at that position."

Araujo was called up to the U.S. men's national team for its January camp. He was with the team though he didn't make an appearance in the United States' win over Costa Rica.

"The fact that he was considered for January camp at such a young age shows that (U.S. men's national team coach) Gregg Berhalter has been keeping tabs on the Galaxy player and knows how much potential he has," one goal.us said.  

Araujo was on the U.S. roster for the 2019 U-20 World Cup and in camp with the U.S. U-23 squad as well.  

Araujo grew up in Lompoc and played soccer and football at Lompoc High. He then accepted an invitation to join Barcelona's youth academy in Arizona. Araujo thrived there, then signed with the L.A. Galaxy's second level club, Galaxy II, before joining the top-flight MLS club last April.

Player of the Decade: We're looking for the top player of the last 10 seasons

The sports staff at the Santa Maria Times, Lompoc Record and Santa Ynez Valley News is looking for the top football player from Northern Santa Barbara County and San Luis Obispo County over the last 10 seasons of high school ball.

See who our nominees are thus far.

Senior Spotlight Series: Celebrating the area's top senior student-athletes

Our 'Senior Spotlight' series is aimed at highlighting senior student-athletes who have had their final year of high school disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak. The athletes featured here were their school's nominee for Athlete of the Year or Student Athlete of the Year for the Northern Santa Barbara County Athletic Round Table's end-of-year banquet that has been canceled due to the outbreak.

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Sports Reporter

Kenny Cress, sportswriter for the Santa Maria Times since September of 2000. BA in political science from Cal Poly Pomona. BA in journalism from Cal State Northridge.

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