Mauricio Cuevas taking advantage of new opportunity with the Galaxy

The Galaxy’s Mauricio Cuevas created a special moment was able to share it with his family after a recent victory over San Jose.

Early in stoppage time, Cuevas scored his first MLS goal in a 3-0 win on June 30 at Stanford.

“It was a moment I can’t describe,” he said of the goal. “It was a surreal feeling, it’s a blessing and the most important thing for me was that both of my parents were there and it was my mom’s birthday. Couldn’t have scripted it better.”

Cuevas, 21, grew up in the Galaxy Academy system. The L.A. native joined Galaxy II in 2019 and a couple of years later headed to Europe to the youth system at Club Brugge in Belgium.

The Galaxy made a move last season, bringing him back home, singing him to a three-year contract through 2025, with two option years through 2027.

“This is my hometown club, my ultimate goal is to 100 percent be a starter, be a consistent player and helping the team in whatever way possible,” he said.

Cuevas has certainly played his way into a contributing role. The defender has seen more time as a winger.

“He’s dynamic, even when he plays fullback,” Galaxy coach Greg Vanney said of Cuevas. “With Johnny (Jonathan Perez) being down, we needed to manufacture a little bit there and he’s come on and proven that he actually really understands the role and has actually proven that he can help us out there.

“It (the winger position) isn’t going to be his primary role, but to be versatile, especially as a young player, can certainly help you to get more minutes and get on the field.”

Cuevas made his first-team debut last season, eventually making eight appearances. This season, he’s made 10 appearances as the Galaxy head into Sunday’s home meeting against Minnesota United FC.

Vanney recently said that he trusts Cuevas in any situation.

“Knowing that the coach has my back and the team has my back means a lot,” he said. “I want to take any responsibility I can to help the team.”

Cuevas joined the Galaxy Academy when he was 13 and left when he was 18.

“I think it was a great learning experience,” he said of moving to Europe. “I never doubt myself on the field. I grew so much out there and I was to bring that growth and experience back here.

“I wanted to come back, because who wouldn’t want to come back home? It’s a great opportunity for me, getting back home to my family. What else could I want? Especially having two immigrant parents who couldn’t fly out to visit me in Belgium. I was out there by myself. It was a lot.”

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