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Tuesday, June 14, 2011
U.S. OPEN CUP: Blues, Fusion move on

By Scott French

The L.A. Blues dodged an early red card with the aid of a newcomer. The Ventura County Fusion overcame an early deficit and weathered several crises.

Both survived first-round encounters Tuesday night in the U.S. Open Cup to set up a showdown next week at Ventura College.

The Blues, down to nine men by the finish, held on to beat Hollywood United FC, 3-1, as Iranian wing-back Mehrshad Momeni scored goals each side of halftime at Riverside Community College's campus in Norco. The Fusion got goals from UCLA's Andy Rose, Mark Magee and UCLA's Reed Williams to overcome West-side amateurs Doxa Italia, 3-1, in Ventura.

The winner in next Tuesday's game will take on a Major League Soccer club -- almost certainly the Galaxy -- in a third-round clash June 28. The U.S. Open Cup is America's oldest and most prestigious cup competition, contested since 1914.

A quick look at the first round:

BLUES JOIN PRO MARCH: The Blues were among 10 teams from the third-tier USL Pro to advance, opening a two-goal lead after Leonard Griffin was sent off in the 19th minute and netting a third after Josh Tudela saw red in the 89th.

Momeni, who signed with the Blues before the season began but didn't arrive until recent weeks, scored in the 37th and 55th minutes. Carlos Morales halved the deficit in the 67th for HUFC -- he was red-carded in the 86th -- and Gerardo Bravo scored the finale for the Blues.

The only USL Pro team to fail to advance were the Dayton Dutch Lions, who lost to another USL Pro side.

FOG FUELS FUSION: Ventura County found itself behind at the start thanks to an old hand, but Jacob Hustedt drew a penalty kick for one goal and assisted a second as the Fusion pulled out a thriller in thick fog that hampered visibility.

Bryan Byrne, a former MLS midfielder who played for the Fusion when they won the Premier Development League title in 2009, gave Doxa Italia a fifth-minute lead, but Rose converted a spot kick in the 33rd, Magee fired V.C. ahead just before halftime, and Williams tallied in the 78th.

Doxa, among seven of the eight entrants from the U.S. Amateur Soccer Association to lose in the first round, applied heavy pressure in the second half, taking 11 shots and hitting the crossbar and post.

A full scorelist and second-round schedule follows.

FIRST ROUND
(Home teams listed first)
Tuesday, June 14

SECOND ROUND
(All times Pacific)
Tuesday, June 21