L.A. BLUES: Trip starts with a loss
ORIGINAL POST: Bright Dike scored two more goals but they only made the score more respectable for the L.A. Blues, who opened a six-day, three-game Atlantic Coast swing with a 3-2 USL Pro loss Thursday night to the Charlotte Eagles.
Dike, on loan from Major League Soccer's Portland Timbers, tallied in the 58th and 88th minutes, each time narrowing the Eagles' advantage to a goal.
That's six goals in the past six games for Dike, a fast, muscular striker who has found the net in five of seven appearances since joining the Blues (5-4-2). He'll look to add to the total Saturday night in crucial showdowns against the Wilmington (N.C.) Hammerheads and Tuesday against the Richmond Kickers.
The Kickers (4-5-5) are even on points with the fifth-place Blues, and Wilmington (5-5-4) is in fourth place. The top six teams advance to the playoffs.
Mauricio Salles converted a penalty kick after an Erlys Garcia hand ball to give Charlotte (4-8-2) a 28th-minute lead, and Christian Meza made it 2-0 four minutes later. Jorge Herrera scored the third one minute before Dike's second goal.
Blues coach Charlie Naimo was so unhappy with the Blues' play in the first half that he made four substitutions at halftime, changing three flank players and pulling former Chivas USA striker Maykel Galindo.
Charlotte (4-8-2) made seven changes in the team that lost to Chivas USA in a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal two days earlier on the Blues' home field at Cal State Fullerton, then brought on four more Open Cup starters in the second half.
The Eagles, who are three points below the playoff line, have won back-to-back games after losing four times in a five-game USL Pro winless streak and are 7-5-1 in all competitions the past two months.
Charlotte Christian School (Charlotte, N.C.)
Charlotte Eagles 3, L.A. Blues 2
C -- Mauricio Salles pen. 28
C -- Christian Meza (Darren Toby) 32
LA -- Bright Dike 58
C -- Jorge Herrera (Darryl Roberts) 87
LA -- Irving Garcia (Bright Dike) 88
Charlotte Eagles: Eric Reed; Scott Jones, Josh Rife, Sean Bateau, Mark Bloom; Juan Guzman (Juddy McKinney, 75), Darren Toby, Chris Salvaggione (Nate Thornton, 67), Miguel Ferrer (Jose Herrera, 62); Christian Meza (Devon Grousis, 56), Mauricio Salles (Darryl Roberts, 77). Unused subs: Clint Irwin, Cheyne Roberts.
L.A. Blues: Jose Miranda; Bryan Burke (Ebrima Jatta, 46), Cory Miller, Erlys Garcia, Carlos Borja; George Davis IV (Brian Farber, 46), Allan Russell, Israel Sesay (Irving Garcia, 71), Ricky Waddell (Sun-Hyung Cho, 46); Bright Dike, Maykel Galindo (Matt Fondy, 46). Unused subs: Amir Abedzadeh.
Yellow card: Borja 92+.
Referee: Daniel Burak. Att.: 530.
Records: Charlotte 4-8-2, Blues 5-4-2.