Jesus Rico-Sanz’s Los Angeles Blues were coming off a scoreless draw with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at Titan Stadium on the campus of California State University Fullerton in Fullerton, Calif. However, they were facing a much more difficult test in the form of Curt Onalfo’s Los Angeles Galaxy Reserves, whose first team were coming off a tough 1-0 defeat to the Houston Dynamo.
The Blues came into the contest with a record of 4-3-1 and would move into a tie for first place in USL Pro, despite Orlando City having a few games in hand. The Galaxy Reserves were having a rough start to the season at 0-1-1 and needed a victory to have any shot at defending their MLS Reserve League West Division crown.
With the match taking place at the Home Depot Center Track Stadium in Carson, Calif., a small turnout was expected, especially with the contest taking place on a weeknight.
Early on in the first half, Michael Stephens tested the Blues back line in the second minute. The Galaxy pressure was rampant, and the Blues had to weather the storm. In the fifth minute, a long volley from the Blues found Brian Rowe. Seconds later, Gyasi Zardes found Stephens to make 1-0 to the Galaxy Reserves. The disconnected play reared its ugly head in the ninth minute, with Oscar Sorto doing some solid sweeping.
Zardes has a great opportunity in he 11th minute but just missed. In the 13th minute, a Rodrigo Lopez corner found Rowe. Another chance for the Galaxy in the 14th minute found the woodwork. In the 15th minute, a free kick from Hector Jimenez was collected by Blues goalkeeper Aaron Perez. In the 17th minute, Jimenez got in on goal to make it 2-0 Galaxy Reserves. Afterwards, the match settled down a bit, with the Blues gaining possession.
In the 32nd minute, a Lopez corner was cleared after a mad scramble. Mershad Momeni had to make way for Jimmy Turner soon after. Shay Spitz nearly got open in the 36th minute but was tracked down by Rafael Garcia. Zardes scored in the 38th minute after George Davis IV missed an opportunity to pull one back, and the rout was on. The Galaxy Reserves to take their best shots against the overmatched Blues by that point.
Zardes nearly got a brace in the 45th minute but it was collected by Perez. He also had another chance in injury time, but that was also saved. At the break, it was Galaxy 3, Blues 0.
Early in the second half, the Galaxy continued to apply pressure. In the 46th, they were rewarded with a penalty. Hector Jimenez’s conversion attempt was made, and it was 4-0. In the 50th minute, the Blues broke loose but they were found out. Seconds later on a free kick, they got on the scoresheet off an own goal by Garcia in the 52nd minute.
At that point, the match broke wide open. A long throw in the 55th minute near led to the second goal of the night for the Blues. Juan Perez was brought in to add some offensive punch. Chandler Hoffman’s 57th minute volley sailed wide left for the Galaxy Reserves. Rico-Sanz hoped to make the most of bringing in Gabriel Gonzalez in the 59th minute of play. In the 62nd minute, Colin Clark tried a cross but to no avail.
The Blues won a corner in the 65th minute, but that was butchered by captain Allan Russell. Clark tried his luck again in the 69th minute but that was collected. Matt Hall had a header in the 73rd minute that hit the crossbar. That was the best chance for the Blues until Shay Spitz made it 4-2 Galaxy Reserves, and suddenly, the momentum was starting to turn in favor of the visitors.
Spitz nearly made it 4-3 in the 78th but his header was saved by Brian Perk. Connor Hearn earned a yellow in the 80th minute. The ensuing free kick was speculative at best. Russell also got cautioned in the 82nd minute. A minute later, a corner from Spitz was cleared. in the 84th minute, a penalty was awarded to the Blues. And just when things seemed to be out of reach for the Blues, it was a one-goal game. Juan Perez nearly equalized in the 87th minute but his shot sailed wide left. Garcia’s 87th minute volley was collected. In the end, a valiant rally from the Blues fell short and the Galaxy Reserves hung on, 4-3.
The Blues return to action with a couple of road matches. On May 17, Los Angeles travel to City Stadium in Richmond to take on the Richmond Kickers. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET. On May 18, the road trip continued with the trip to Legion Stadium in Wilmington, N.C. to face the Wilmington Hammerheads. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. PT/7:30 p.m. ET.