Sunday, July 8, 2012
FULLERTON, Calif. – A visibly tired Los Angeles Blues side fell 4-0 to defending USL PRO champions and current league leaders Orlando City on Sunday evening. Playing their fifth match in 11 days, Head Coach Charlie Naimo’s men were unable to match the energy put forth by the Lions, who collected all three points behind a brace by team top scorer Dennis Chin and additional tallies by Jean Alexandre and Matt Luzunaris.
The match started out promisingly for the Blues, who very nearly made it 1-0 in the second minute of play. Carlos Borja released George Davis on the left side of the penalty area and the former Dayton Dutch Lion found himself one-on-one with goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo, only to fire inches wide of the near post.
The Blues were punished for the missed opportunity on a very similar play at the other end a mere five minute later, Jamie Watson releasing Chin inside the box and the 25-year-old calmly slotted past onrushing netminder José Miranda to put the visitors on the board. Chin continued to create havoc and had another outstanding opportunity in the 13th minute, as he received the ball from Alexandre in a wide open position at the top of the box and pushed the seemingly simple finish just wide of the right post.
Orlando’s leading scorer would redeem himself by adding another goal to his total four minutes later. Once again Alexandre played a crucial role in creating the chance, his block of an attempted clearance falling to Chin inside the box and the striker finishing past Miranda to double his side’s advantage.
The visitors could have made it three in first-half stoppage time, as newly acquired Rodrigo Lopez was released inside the area and displayed outstanding footwork to beat a sliding Cory Miller, only to see his pass to Chin intercepted on a last-ditch saving play by Erlys Garcia.
The Blues had the first dangerous look of the second half as the ball fell to Bryan Burke inside the penalty area, and the right back’s powerful short-range drive forced a fine save from Gallardo. Naimo’s men created another promising opportunity three minutes from the hour mark, when Shay Spitz laid the ball off to Allan Russell on a free-kick and the former Scottish Premier League man released a thunderous drive that flew just wide of the left post.
The visitors from Florida would add to their lead in the 70th minute, however, as second-half substitute Matt Luzunaris took the ball from Spitz following a short goal kick by Miranda and picked out Alexandre in penalty area. The on-loan San Jose Earthquake calmly slotted home to put the game out of reach.
The visitors had one more goal in them as they struck on a well executed 78th-minute counter-attack as Watson released Luzunaris with a beautiful flick-on and the 23-year fired a precise left-footed rocket into the top corner to make it 4-0.
Orlando City hopes to earn its third consecutive victory next Saturday night as they host the second-placed Rochester Rhinos at the Florida Citrus Bowl. Meanwhile, the Blues face yet another tough road trip as they take on Antigua Barracuda FC in back-to-back matches at the IMG Soccer Academy in Bradenton, Fla., on Thursday and Saturday afternoon.
The pair of contests kicks off a stretch of five consecutive road fixtures for the Fullerton-based side, with their first games back home at Titan Stadium coming on August 9 and August 11, also against Antigua. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased by calling 714-738-8011 or by visiting www.labluesprosoccer.com.