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Thursday, May 3, 2012
L.A. BLUES: Wait for big guns isn't done

By Scott French

The L.A. Blues will have to wait a little longer before Maykel Galindo and Rahman Rezaei suit up, and Charlie Naimo has only so much patience. He could use both of them -- for the intangibles, more than anything else -- for this weekend's USL Pro games against the Wilmington (N.C.) Hammerheads.

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Galindo, a former star forward for Chivas USA who played last season with FC Dallas, was expected to make his Blues debut in Friday's 5 p.m. game at Fullerton College, but an ankle sprain will sideline him this weekend -- game two is Sunday at Cal State Fullerton -- and perhaps for next weekend's trip to play Dayton and Pittsburgh.

Rezaei, a center back who played in Italy's Serie A and for Iran at the 2006 World Cup, has his visa but is going through a final background check before he can enter the country.

They'll provide needed skill and experience up front and at the back for the Blues (0-2-0), who were shut out twice at home by Rochester in the first two weeks of the USL Pro season. More so, they will demand accountability of their teammates, which Naimo, the head coach and general manager, wants to see.

“It still really remains to see who our best 11 is,” Naimo said. “That's the biggest mystery, the biggest stresser, is who should be playing. We have a lot of similar players, and there's really not that much of a hierarchy. It's been very hard to find consistency in our team because of that fact.”

The Blues' first season veered off course last year after Argentine playmaker Walter Gaitan departed in mid-June, after just 2 months with the club, leaving them without, Naimo says, “the leader by example that nobody wanted to cross.” Galindo and Rezaei will be those guys this year.

“No question in my mind,” Naimo said. “I just can't wait for that to happen. Everyone will be more confident players with those guys on the field. Accountability will be difference, and so will confidence.”

WORTH NOTING: Friday's game was moved from Cal State Fullerton's Titan Stadium to Fullerton College, with game time 2 hours earlier, because of a conflict with the university's Associated Students spring concert, featuring pop singer Mike Posner and country singer Hunter Hayes. The Blues looked at Santa Ana Stadium before deciding to play in Fullerton College's stadium, which has limited seating. Admission will be free. The club trains at the college, and its offices are just a couple of blocks away. ... Sunday's game at CSUF also begins at 5. ... Wilmington, which won 14 games last year (second-most in the league), is 2-1-1 after a 3-0 win Wednesday night over Antigua Barracuda. Former Azusa Pacific University star Andriy Budnyy leads the Hammerheads with three goals. Their roster includes seven local players: former Blues (and Chivas USA) forward Chukwudi Chijindu (Fontana/Damien HS), goalkeeper Kyle Polak (Huntington Beach/Fountain Valley HS and Cal State Fullerton/Cal State Dominguez Hills), defenders Dylan Riley (Thousand Oaks/Thousand Oaks HS and Cal State Northridge) and Trey Cole (Laguna Hills/Laguna Hills HS and Irvine Valley College), and midfielders Jack Avesyan (Hollywood), Hagop Chirishian (Hollywood/A.G.B.U. Manoogian-Demirdjan School and Pasadena City College) and Manny Guzman (Lakewood/West Torrance HS and L.A. Harbor College).