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Friday, July 15, 2011
L.A. BLUES: Byers debuts in a draw

By Scott French

A fine start -- but not perfect, by any means -- for Antiguan forward Peter Byers, who produced in his club debut Friday night the pace and spark the L.A. Blues were looking for when they signed him more than a month ago.

What he didn't provide was a goal, although he played a part in the sequence that led to Cesar Rivera's 93rd-minute penalty kick to secure a 1-1 draw with the lowly Dayton Dutch Lions in a nationally televised game at Cal State Fullerton.

Rivera, racing into the box to latch onto a Chukwudi Chijindu feed, was taken down in the Dutch Lions' box by Luke Magill nearly two minutes into stoppage. His fifth USL Pro goal of the season extended the Blues' winless streak to six games in all competitions but ended a four-game losing streak at Titan Stadium, including the U.S. Open Cup loss to the Galaxy.

The Blues (5-4-5), who are third in the National Division, are 0-4-1 in all games at their primary home. They'll take on Dayton again Sunday at Norco College.

Byers, who made his name with the Montreal Impact in the old USL First Division and started this season with USL Pro side Antigua Barracuda, signed June 2 with the Blues. Technicalities prevented him from being eligible to play for the Blues until the summer transfer window opened Friday.

Dayton (1-10-3), which has tied its last three games, scored on its only shot of the game, with George Davis IV beating Blues goalkeeper Oscar Dautt from a tight angle in the seventh minute. The Dutch Lions bunkered the rest of the way, absorbing extraordinary pressure before surrendering the penalty at the end.

Blues captain Josh Tudela departed in the first half with an ankle injury.