Los Angeles Blues News Release -- www.labluesprosoccer.com
Sunday, July 22, 2012
FULLERTON, Calif. – The Los Angeles Blues earned a scoreless draw with Guatemalan record champions and frequent CONCACAF Champions League participants CSD Municipal on Sunday night. After a dominant first-half performance, the Fullerton-based side found itself on the back foot after the break but did well to keep their mighty opponents off the board, despite a penalty kick being awarded to their opponents in the second half as well as a late ejection to Blues defender Ebrima Jatta.
The first dangerous chance of the match was created by the Guatemalans in the 7th minute of play, Marco Rivas’s cross finding Oscar Isaula inside the box and Blues netminder José Miranda doing well to tip the striker’s header over the crossbar.
The hosts responded well and took control of the match in the ensuing moments. They very nearly took the lead in the 13th minute when former Chivas USA man Maykel Galindo was released on the left side of the box and tried to chip the onrushing Cristian Alvarez, only to be denied by the excellent positioning of the Municipal goalkeeper.
The Blues came even closer to scoring five minutes later, Irving Garcia’s free-kick from the left edge of the penalty area being flicked on to Josh Suggs, who was unlucky to fall victim to an awkward bounce, as his wide open attempt from five yards out sailed well over the frame. In the 21st minute, it was Garcia with an attempt of his own, his right-footed curler from the edge of the box not missing the upper ninety by much.
The Fullerton-based side created their next dangerous look mere moments later. Carlos Borja’s delicate touch released Burke inside the area and the Southern California native appeared destined to strike from short range but saw his attempted finish from close range box blocked away by a Municipal defender.
The visitors from the Guatemalan capital had a quality chance of their own in the 24th minute, as Yosimar Arias released a long range rocket that whistled inches over the bar. The Blues responded just after the half-hour mark, an excellent Burke through ball putting Max Griffin in a one-on-one situation with Álvarez, only for the striker’s skillful chip past the Municipal shot-stopper to trickle just wide of the far post.
After surrendering the majority of the possession and scoring opportunities to the Blues in the opening period, Municipal came out of the halftime break re-energized, and they nearly took the lead in the 65th minute. A foul by Jatta at the top of the penalty area provided substitute Pedro Samayoa with a chance from less than 20 yards out and the midfielder hit a fantastic curling free-kick that skipped off the top of the crossbar for an agonizing miss.
“Los Rojos” had their best opportunity of the night in the 74th minute of play, Suggs attempting to prevent a wide open opportunity for Isaula inside the area and getting hit in the arm by the striker’s attempted finish. Isaula himself stepped up to take the resulting penalty kick, but netminder Miranda kept the match level with a nice diving save to his left.
Municipal kept up the pressure in the closing stages of the match, and they created one last look in the 80th minute, as Marvin Ávila’s attempted cross turned into a direct threat on goal, Miranda doing well to tip the ball over the crossbar. Despite finishing with ten men following a Jatta foul that saw the Gambian register his second yellow card of the night, the Blues maintained their defensive shape for the final stretch and came away with a hard-earned 0-0 draw.
Head Coach Charlie Naimo’s are back in action this coming Friday, July 27, as they travel to take on hosts Rochester Rhinos. They return to Fullerton’s Titan Stadium for a pair of crucial home matches against Antigua Barracuda FC on August 9 and August 11. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased by calling 714-738-8011 or by visiting www.labluesprosoccer.com.