The Orange County Blues were outplayed and eventually outmanned, but they held on against the LA Galaxy II on Thursday night, earning their first-ever point against the local rivals in a 1-1 draw in Carson. Chris Cortez gave the Blues an early lead before Ariel Lassiter provided the leveler for the hosts.
All things considered, it's a good result for the Blues, having never picked up a win or draw against Galaxy II in six previous tries. So while they won't win any style points for the result, the fact that they broke their duck in some respects has to be positive for Oliver Wyss' side.
Cortez broke through Galaxy II's high line in the eighth minute, as he squirted between two defenders and beat them to the ball with his shot, sending it past Clement Diop to give OC the lead.
LA thought they had an equalizer just past the half hour mark, but Travis Bowen's tap-in was waved off for an offside call. About 10 minutes later, Ariel Lassiter tied it up, as he followed up on Pepe Miranda's initial save off a breakaway and blasted it into an empty net.
Following the break, the hosts completely dominated the run of play against the Blues, but Josh Suggs nearly caught LA unawares in the 64th minute, as his cross/shot floated dangerously on target, but Diop pushed it over the goal for a corner.
The game became all the more difficult for OC in the 71st minute, as Brenton Griffiths was shown his second yellow card of the night. As the rock of the backline this season, it appeared his departure would be a massive blow in trying to hold on for the draw, let alone somehow grab a win.
And it nearly proved immediately catastrophic, as the subsequent free kick by Andre Auras off the foul that sent Griffiths off bounced off the crossbar and then dropped agonizingly in front of goal before substitute Ryan Felix cleared it out of danger.
Christofer Ramirez came off the bench shortly after the red card, and he nearly converted the play of the game a few minutes from full time, as he dribbled upfield on the counterattack, dribbled around traffic to kill time, then sent a long shot that was wide of target. Though it would have been nice to see a goal, of course, it was a terrific individual effort, not only to help the Blues preserve the point, but to swing the balance of play a bit near the end of the match.
A dangerous free kick was taken right on the stroke of 90 minutes by Lassiter, but it sailed well over the goal, to the Blues' relief. The Blues then had a longer free kick opportunity in stoppage time, but the attempt was just over the goal.
The Blues don't have another game this week, instead getting nine days before their next match, against new USL side Real Monarchs SLC on July 25 at Anteater Stadium. OC remain in the final Western Conference playoff spot, one point ahead of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2, though if results go a certain way, they could be on the outside looking in come the end of the weekend. At any rate, a draw against their boogeyman team is a solid result, and hopefully the Blues can build off of it.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!