The Orange County Blues’ inconsistent run reared its head again on Saturday night, as they fell short in the 405 Derby, losing 2-1 to the LA Galaxy II at the StubHub Center Track and Field Stadium.
LA controlled the run of play in the first half, and got their lead through Adonis Amaya in the 35th minute, as a ball over the top, a source of constant struggle for the Blues against Galaxy II in recent seasons, proved to be too much to handle yet again, and Amaya took it down and made them pay for it.
The Blues didn’t give up the effort, though, and after the break started to play their way into the game. Another goal seemed in the offing, but it was unclear whether OC would get it, considering the lack of production from their forwards this season.
The game was effectively wrapped up in the 78th minute, after Jack McBean drew and then converted a penalty kick for the hosts. Even LA’s color commentator believed McBean sold the call very well, but it was called and Galaxy II gave themselves a cushion.
It was well-warranted, too, because the Blues did score after that, with Trevin Caesar taking charge, dribbling through several LA defenders before sending a wicked shot past Clement Diop to make it 2-1. From there, it looked like the Blues might yet complete their comeback.
But Galaxy II held onto the ball and killed the game, and OC leave Carson empty-handed.
The loss continues OC’s up-and-down form, as they are on a six-game run of alternating wins and losses, something certain to keep them hovering around the middle of the standings for the moment. The stats back that up — the Blues are in the middle of the pack in goals allowed, and while momentary lapses on the defensive end are costing them points, no doubt, the real problem is the lack of scoring. They are the only team in the Top 8 of the Western Conference to have a negative goal difference, and while there are teams in the West that have scored fewer goals, those teams are nearly all in the bottom of the table (the exceptions are Sacramento Republic and the Colorado Springs Switchbacks, who both have exceptional defensive numbers to make up for their lack of scoring). All in all, the Blues’ inconsistency is keeping them from really solidifying their status as a playoff team at this point. The good news is that they still have time to work on it.
And the next test for OC comes next Sunday, as they host Sacramento Republic for the teams’ second meeting of 2016. Should be a good one!
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