Saturday, May 12, 2012
L.A. BLUES: Dike aids two-game sweep
By Scott French
The L.A. Blues were aiming for four points from their first eastern trek of the USL Pro season. Their new addition helped ensure they'd claim a full six.
Bright Dike scored his first goal for the Blues and set up Matt Fondy's finale as L.A. (3-2-1) completed a two-day sweep of lesser sides with a 3-0 romp Saturday night at Pittsburgh (2-5-0).
All three goals came in the second half as the Blues overcame a slow start and gradually assumed command starting about halfway through the first 45 minutes.
Ricky Waddell scored a stunning goal in the first minute of the second half, running onto a bouncing ball and half-volleying it into the upper-left corner from 25 yards to send L.A. ahead.
Dike, who Tuesday joined the Blues on loan from Major League Soccer's Portland Timbers, chipped over Riverhounds goalkeeper Hunter Gilstrap six minutes later from Fondy's ball over the top. Fondy, who played last season for Pittsburgh, netted his second of the season from a Dike feed in the 69th.
The Riverhounds' best chances arrived early, with David Leon hitting the right post in the third minute and former New York Red Bulls youngster Matt Kassel firing at Blues goalkeeper Jose Miranda when 1-on-1 in the eighth minute.
WORTH NOTING: The Blues extended their unbeaten streak to four games and climbed to fourth in the third-division league's standings. The only team to beat L.A., the Rochester Rhinos, are 6-0-0 and haven't conceded a goal. ... The trip began with a 1-0 victory Friday night over the Dayton Dutch Lions. ... Only 17 players traveled, and Miranda was the only goalkeeper. No. 1 keeper Amir Abedzadeh is nursing a sore shoulder suffered while making a miraculous save in last weekend's 2-2 draw with Wilmington at Cal State Fullerton. ... The Blues next play in a U.S. Open Cup second-round game against the Fullerton Rangers or Ventura County Fusion on May 22 at Riverside Community College's Norco campus. They are off from USL Pro play until a May 24-26 trip to Orlando City and Charleston. ... Tino Nuņez (Long Beach/Millikan HS and Compton College/UC Santa Barbara) went the full 90 up front for Pittsburgh, which has lost four in a row and five of their last six.
Chartiers Valley High School (Bridgeville, Pa.)
Pittsburgh Riverhounds 0, L.A. Blues 3 LA -- Ricky Waddell 46
LA -- Bright Dike (Matt Fondy) 52
LA -- Matt Fondy (Bright Dike) 69
Pittsburgh Riverhounds: Hunter Gilstrap; Louis Rolko, Nikola Katic, Sterling Flunder, Ben Horner (Jeremy Deighton, 67); Matt Kassel, Stefan Lundberg (Jason Kutney, 76), David Leon (Darren Amoo, 51), Neil Shaffer (Shintaro Harada, 50); Mike Seth, Tino Nuņez. Unused subs: Greg Blum, Mike Green.
L.A. Blues: Jose Miranda; Erlys Garcia (Sun-Hyung Cho, 86), Cory Miller, Carlos Borja, Bryan Burke (Ebrima Jatta, 64); Shay Spitz, Allan Russell, Ricky Waddell, Israel Sesay (Ladislas Bushiri, 60); Bright Dike (Cheun-Yung Park, 74), Matt Fondy. Unused subs: George Davis IV, Irving Garcia.