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Sunday, May 15, 2011
L.A. BLUES: Late PK leads to loss

By Scott French

The good news for the L.A. Blues: They're atop their new division and have an opportunity next weekend to build on that lead with road games against the USL Pro's only two winless sides.


The bad news: The Charlotte Eagles were winless before coming to So Cal, and, after Saturday's finale of a two-game series with the Blues, they're winless no more.

Jorge Herrera's stoppage-time penalty kick lifted the Eagles to a 2-1 victory at Cal State Fullerton. L.A. won Thursday's encounter, 2-1, at Centennial High School in Corona.

Cheyne Roberts' half-volley from a Herrera corner kick gave Charlotte (1-4-1) a 22nd-minute advantage, but Walter Gaitan knocked home a loose ball after a 75th-minute corner to pull the Blues (4-2-1) even. Herrera's penalty winner followed a Leonard Griffin hand ball.

The Blues played short a man after central defender Erlys Garcia was sent off in the 42nd for a studs-up tackle on Alan Sanchez. Chivas USA loaner Chukwudi Chijindu, who netted the winner Thursday, hit the crossbar, and a Garcia header was cleared off the Charlotte goal line.

L.A. is 0-2 on its primary home field, and the crowd again was a disappointment. Only 623 were in the stands for a tripleheader that featured La Mirada's Southern California Seahorses, a Charlotte affiliate, and the Pali Blues, the Blues' championship women's team. Three home games have drawn 1,993.

The Blues are in first place in the third-tier USL Pro's National Division, in which it was placed Thursday after the league's three Puerto Rican clubs were dropped and the International Division scuttled.

Next up is a trip east next weekend to take on the Dayton (Ohio) Dutch Lions (0-4-0) and Pittsburgh Riverhounds (0-4-2), which have the two worst records in the league.

OPENING ACTS: Ryan Shaw's second-half goal led the Seahorses, in their  opener, to a 1-0 win over the L.A. Legends in the USL Premier Development League. The Pali Blues also won, spoiling the L.A. Strikers' debut in the USL W-League. The lone goal came from Tiffany McCarty in the 87th minute.