After being forced to move their USL playoff game from regular home venue Anteater Stadium due to schedule conflicts with UC Irvine's teams, the Orange County Blues announced on Wednesday they would be moving their game on Saturday against the LA Galaxy II from temporary venue Shapell Stadium in Yorba Linda to the Galaxy II's home stadium of the StubHub Center. Kickoff will be at 7:30 pm PT.
"This change has been agreed to by all parties in order to provide the best possible conditions for both clubs and the fans," said the releases from both clubs and the league.
The latest change provoked immediate reaction around USL circles, and represents a pro/con list of consequences. Shapell Stadium was announced as the venue just last week, and field conditions would probably not have been ideal, as the stadium features a turf field and football markings. And while the Blues didn't have much of a choice in leaving Anteater Stadium, I can't imagine moving the venue helped their ticket sales a great deal (but that's just speculation on my part).
So going to a soccer venue with grass and no schedule conflicts, while still remaining in the metro area, all go in the positive side of the ledger. On the downside, the game has gone from being a Blues home game, something they earned on the field with a No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, to a Galaxy II home game, and of course all of the home field advantage goes to the other side. Considering the Blues' historic struggles against Galaxy II, including never winning against LA at the Galaxy II's home ground, the off-field problems are pretty disappointing, all things considered. I'd certainly not count out the Blues chances in winning this game, but it certainly doesn't help their odds, either.
All the more reason why chatter about a Blues stadium project is relevant.
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