Los Angeles Soccer: Adan Coronado
With Hollywood United departing for a rival league, the Ventura County Fusion might have figured they were in a two-team battle for the Premier Development League's Southwest Division title this year.
They would have been correct.
Only the other team isn't Orange County Blue Star.
The Fusion made that clear Friday night with a 7-2 pasting at Ventura College, running their record to 4-0-1. That's only worth second place -- Fresno Fuego, apparently their chief competition, is a point better, at 4-0-2.
The teams drew, 0-0, May 1 in Ventura and meet again June 11 in Fresno.
They're in another battle this week, for the division's berth in the U.S. Open Cup. Fresno won all four of its qualifying matches, and the Fusion is 3-0-0 heading into Saturday's PDL match against the Southern California Seahorses at La Mirada High School. Ventura County will advance if it wins by two or more goals or by one goal while scoring at least three. A 2-1 win forces a coin flip, a 1-0 win, draw or loss sends Fresno through.
Thousand Oaks' Danny Barrerra (Westlake HS/UC Santa Barbara) played the key role against Blue Star, setting up two goals -- his league-best fifth and sixth assists -- and scoring the finale.
Hollywood United FC is mowing down most of the competition in the National Premier Soccer League, perhaps a little flummoxed that the level of the other teams -- San Diego Flash and perhaps Santa Ana Winds aside -- isn't quite what they saw most nights in the Premier Development League.
This week it was the Bay Area Ambassadors who took a beating, a 7-0 decision that kept HUFC (6-1-0) atop the Southwest Flight. The Hitmen, who scored six second-half goals, have struck 32 times in seven games, 30 in a five-game winning streak that has featured four shutouts.
Rene Corona (Corona/Centennial HS and Santa Ana College) was this week's hero, joining the Hitmen's hat-trick club with goals in the 19th, 58th and 78th minutes. Former Chivas USA winger Brent Whitfield (Long Beach/Poly HS and Cal State Fullerton) and Cuban forward Jose Miranda had registered three-goal games in HUFC's two previous encounters.
Whitfield scored twice and Miranda added a goal against Bay Area.