Los Angeles Soccer: Anaheim Bolts
The Brazilian attacker, clearly the Bolts' best player in their first season, led Anaheim with 42 points and scored 27 goals, just one off the team lead. The Bolts went 8-8 but missed the postseason.
San Diego captured its third straight league title Saturday night with a 10-7 victory over Detroit at Del Mar Arena. The Sockers went 18-0 in PASL Pro action and head into this weekend's U.S. Open Arena Cup final at the Cincinnati Kings with a 23-0 overall mark.
Kraig Chiles, who set a PASL Pro goals record with 46 but missed by two Bolts head coach/managing partner Bernie Lilavois' league record for points (66), was the league MVP. Sockers boss Phil Salvagio was Coach of the Year.
Chivas USA forward Cesar Romero, who set league records for goals in a game (9, twice) and tallied 33 times in just seven games for Tijuana before heading on trial with the Goats, was a second-team all-league pick.
There's plenty of room to improve -- on the field, sure, after a propensity for late collapse left them two games out of a playoff spot, but even more so within the organization.
Bernie Lilavois, the Bolts' managing partner, head coach and -- when needed, as in Sunday night's finale -- veteran presence on the field, understands this better than most.
“It was a learning experience for all of us,” said Lilavois, whose team won five of its last six games to finish 8-8. “The overall thing -- setting up the field, game operations, everything -- I think we learned a lot this year, so we're real excited to get hard at work tomorrow. That's when it starts.”
The Bolts' final games at Anaheim Convention Center, a doubleheader to make up a December game that was postponed because of field issues, offered plenty reason for optimism on the field. They scored seven of eight goals from late in the first through the end of the third quarter en route to a 9-6 victory in the opener, then battled to a 10-9 triumph in the second game.
Adriano de Lima scored four goals in the first game -- that was three four-game games in succession -- and Hugo Casillas netted his fourth straight hat trick and sixth of the season. De Lima scored three more in the second game to win the team's scoring title (with 42 points) and finish just behind Casillas in goals, 28-27.
Lilavois, 41, contributed a goal and an assist in just his second appearance of the season, eclipsing 1,000 points in a storied indoor career.
Mark Lee scored three goals in the first game and five in the second for Tacoma (3-13).
Anaheim, with a largely inexperienced roster, was ahead in six of their eight losses, in the second half in five of them and into the final quarter in four of them. Turn two of them into wins, and the playoffs are coming up next weekend. The travails, Lilavois hopes, will help build a better side for season two.
ANAHEIM -- An inability to hold onto leads has defined the Anaheim Bolts' first season in the Professional Arena Soccer League. With their season in the balance, they crumpled again.
The local indoor club's postseason hopes ended Sunday night when it failed to hold onto a two-goal lead with 3 minutes, 45 seconds to go in regulation. A 12-11 overtime loss to Tijuana at Anaheim Convention Center wrapped up the Western Division's playoff race, giving the visiting Revolucion the final berth and sending the Bolts sprawling into the final week of the campaign.
“This one really hurt,” said Adriano de Lima, who scored four goals for the second successive game -- two of them were real beauties -- and nearly scored an overime winner. “[Conceding leads] is the story of our season, and we knew it. Somehow we didn't know how to stop it. ...
“I think managing that lead is what makes a championship team. I guess we're not ready for it.”
De Lima added two assists, Hugo Casillas and Juan Gonzalez scored hat tricks, and Paul Wright assisted three goals for the Bolts (6-8), who traded goals with Tijuana (9-6) deep into the third quarter -- Anaheim always ahead -- extended their advantage to two goals four times, then watched the Revolucion score the final three to win. Edgar Rivas netted the winner 1:42 into the extra period, on a rebound after a Tomislav Colic turnover.
“You look at the scoreboard, you've got a two-goal lead with four minutes to play? It's disheartening,” said head coach and managing partner Bernie Lilavois, whose team benefited from four power-play goals. “It's so much hard work. It sucks to end it this way.”
The Bolts (6-7) have to beat Tijuana (8-6) at Anaheim Convention Center to remain alive; the Revolucion would claim the Western Division's third (and final) playoff spot with a victory.
To get to the playoffs, the Bolts need to sweep their final three games -- they close with a doubleheader Feb. 26 against Tacoma -- and Tijuana must lose in its Feb. 24 home date with Tacoma. The Stars are 3-7.
In Anaheim's favor is that Tijuana's top scorer, Cesar Romero, is in camp (and contract talks) with Chivas USA.
The Anaheim Bolts still have playoff aspirations, which is an achievement in itself after that five-game losing streak nearly finished them off before February. This weekend's two-game sweep in Tacoma has their first Professional Arena Soccer League season hinging on two matches, it appears.
The Bolts (6-7) held on for a 12-10 victory Saturday over the Stars (3-9), then overcame an early deficit and again held on for a 12-11 win Sunday, their second and third straight victories. Hugo Casillas scored hat tricks in both -- he leads Anaheim with 21 goals -- and Juan Gonzalez and then Adriano de Lima contributed four-goal efforts.
“Tremendous, man,” head coach Bernie Lilavois, whose team has three games remaining, told ESPN Los Angeles. “That's three games in a row, and we need to win six in a row -- and we need help ... and we'll see at the end of the schedule where the chips fall.”
Three teams from the Western Division make the playoffs. Two-time defending PASL Pro champion San Diego (14-0) already has a semifinal berth. A playoff between the second- and third-place teams -- two from among Turlock (9-5), Tijuana (8-5) and the Bolts -- will determine another semifinalist. Head-to-head is the first tiebreaker, and the Bolts win theirs against Turlock but not against Tijuana.
The games that most matter involve Tijuana. If the Revolucion wins Friday night in Turlock and Anaheim beats them next Sunday, then San Diego's quest for perfection (the Sockers play at Tacoma on Feb. 24) and another Bolts sweep of Tacoma (Feb. 26 at Anaheim Convention Center) sends the local team to the postseason.
ANAHEIM -- Bernie Lilavois said the Anaheim Bolts' meeting Saturday night with Arizona would be a “statement game,” and the club sure took him at his word.
The Bolts ended a five-game losing streak with a 17-3 rout of the lowly Storm at the Anaheim Convention Center's arena, easily posting a season-high for goals and giving their sagging playoff hopes a little lift.
It's still a long road to fulfilling Lilavois' preseason “guarantee” that Southern California's indoor team would reach the Professional Arena Soccer League's postseason in its first season, but this is all just growing pains, the Bolts' managing partner/head coach/sometimes player noted following Friday's 10-5 loss to San Diego.
“It's a process,” he said. “At any time, Tijuana and Turlock -- the teams we're chasing in the standings -- they can drop a couple games here and there, and we might sneak in. It's an overall process. I said it from Day One: We don't want to be one year and out, it's a long-term thing.”
Sneaking in will take some doing. There are three Western Division berths in the seven-team PASL Pro playoffs, and San Diego (13-0) has one of them as final-four host -- and the Sockers, two-time defending league champs, already have the Western title after Saturday's 13-2 defeat of Tijuana.
Bernie Lilavois had never seen a team score 28 goals before -- that was the most impressive thing about his Anaheim Bolts' lopsided loss Saturday night in Tijuana -- but he could only shake his head at the figure. He knew his team had lost before it crossed the border.
A combination of injury, illness, suspension, prior commitments and border-document issues left Lilavois with a few regulars, a lot of reserves and not much hope, and the 28-7 defeat to the Revoluccion set several Professional Arena Soccer League records, none of them the sort the Bolts might relish.
Tijuana tied the league mark with 15 goals by halftime, scored an unprecedented eight in the second quarter and shattered the record for goals in a match, scoring six more than the late Denver Dynamite and Calgary United managed during the inaugural 2008-09 season.
“When I was in Stockton, we were loaded with veterans, and we had some high-scoring games, for sure,” said Lilavois, 41, a former indoor star -- nine teams, five leagues -- who suited up for the first time in two years. “But 28 I've never seen. It was interesting. It didn't really feel like 28, It was, 'Guys, hey, let's not look at the scoreboard, let's just play,' and every once in a while you'd look up and it's 17-4. 'Really?' ”
The loss was the first-year Bolts' fourth in a row, and Lilavois is looking to use it as a foundation for a reassessment of the club -- on and off the field -- before it returns to Professional Arena Soccer League action in two weeks. Among his considerations: whether he should return to the game, in earnest.
He was forced onto the field Saturday with 11 of the 13 most important players unavailable. Two were suspended after red cards in last weekend's loss at San Diego, two had commitments dating before the team was organized, two are hurt and another is sidelined by migraines. Three more lacked paperwork to cross back and forth at San Ysidro. Lilavois gave veteran Paul Wright the night off.
“There were so many factors, so I decided to play the reserves. give them some experience,” Lilavois said. “I knew what the result would be. I knew it would be a loss. I didn't think it would be that bad, but I knew we'd be shorthanded and knew we'd lose a game.
ANAHEIM -- The local pro indoor soccer club is still figuring things out, on and off the field, and it's not going well at the moment. The Anaheim Bolts' game presentation still requires some honing, as can attest the crowd at Friday night's game at the Anaheim Convention Center, but at least crowds appear to be growing.
The real crisis is the Bolts' propensity for second-half collapse, and they set a new standard for that Friday, watching a five-goal advantage disappear in a 14-13 loss to the Tijuana Revoluccion. That's three times they've let a lead of at least three goals get away, and they lost another game in which they led in the fourth quarter, then conceded the final six goals.
“It's a bad sign,” said Bolts head coach Bernie Lilavois, whose team dropped to 3-5 with a worse-than-it-sounds 13-6 loss Saturday night at San Diego, the Professional Arena Soccer League's Western Division leader. “If it's one or two games, you can deal with it, knowing you're team's in a funk. But all the adjustments we've been working on -- during training, at halftime -- nothing seems to be working. I've got to start looking at things, not just at myself coaching-wise, but also the players.”
The first-year Bolts were up, 7-2, heading into the final 15 seconds of the first half against Tijuana (4-4), which scored just before the break, then took over as Cesar Romero scored five second-half goals. The Revoluccion's counterattack carved up Anaheim, going a 12-4 sprint to build a three-goal lead before Paul Wright and Rafael Gaytan trimmed the deficit in the final minute.
When things go wrong, the Bolts seem to forget their fundamentals. They fail to press, don't adequately defend the pass and struggle to get back on defense, enabling foes to sprint past for easy goals.
“You get a cut on the arm, and the bleeding won't stop, and you don't know what to do to make it stop,” Lilavois said. “They score a goal against us, and then it's seven goals against us. We just can't stop those streaks.”
That's what's behind the postponement of Sunday evening's Professional Arena Soccer League clash with the Tacoma Stars at the Anaheim Convention Center, a decision Bernie Lilavois, the Bolts' head coach and president, figured it best not to agonize over.
The first-year club used rival San Diego Sockers' field for its preseason tournament and first three home games this season, but its new field -- the surface, yes, but especially the boards and glass that surround it -- arrived last week.
It just didn't meet PASL Pro specifications.
“We tried to get San Diego's boards here at the last minute,” Lilavois said. “Unfortunately, their field isn't movable. They had it [configured into the ground at the Del Mar Fairgrounds] for the rest of the season. It's a fixture now. ...
“Our option was either to do it, get the game done -- try to configure something and make it work -- but it wasn't the professional standard we want to set. ... I just thought it was better to postpone it. Tacoma was good about it -- they'll be back down in February.”
Lilavois said the field was fine and would be suitable for a recreational league but that it doesn't meet professional standards. A replacement field will be in place before the Bolts' next home game, Jan. 6 vs. Tijuana.
LATE COLLAPSE: Lilavois is still smarting from the Bolts' collapse in Friday's 9-8 loss at Turlock. The Express scored seven straight goals to turn a 6-2 deficit into a 9-6 lead.
The Anaheim Bolts surrendered another lead, the third time they've done so, accounting for all three losses. If they were better at killing off games, they'd be atop the Professional Arena Soccer League standings.
Instead, the Bolts are 3-3 following Friday night's 9-8 loss against the Turlock Express (6-3) in Northern California, which followed pattern: Anaheim surged to a decent lead (6-2 midway through the second quarter), conceded seven straight goals (four of them by Jorge Horta), and clawed back within one before it was over.
It ended a three-game PASL Pro winning streak and makes Sunday evening's encounter at Anaheim Convention Center with the Tacoma Stars (3-4) as critical as can be this early in the season.
Hugo Casillas had a hat trick just 5½ minutes into the second quarter for the Bolts -- his seventh, eighth and ninth goals of the season -- Patrick Ruiz added two goals and an assist, and Adriano de Lima tallied and assisted three goals. Leading scorer Enrique Tovar, the PASL Pro's reigning Player of the Week, was held without a goal or assist for the first time.
Enrique Tovar scored a hat trick to lead the Bolts (3-2) to a 6-2 victory Saturday night over the last-place Phoenix Monsoon (1-7), and Tomislav Colic's hat trick paced an 8-4 win in Sunday afternoon's rematch.
Mexican veteran Rafael Gaytan Espinoza, signed Friday, tallied twice in his debut Saturday.
Tovar leads the Bolts with nine goals.
Anaheim, which plays Friday night at Turlock and Sunday at the Anaheim Convention Center against Tacoma, is a game and a half behind two-time defending PASL Pro champion San Diego (4-0) in the West. Turlock (5-3) is in second, one game back, following a win Sunday over fourth-place Tacoma (3-3).
Hugo Casillas and Tomislav Colic combined for seven goals and Adriano de Lima contributed seven assists as the Anaheim Bolts won their opener Saturday night in the U.S. Open Arena Cup, a competition for indoor soccer clubs.
The Bolts turned a tight game with Docemas, an amateur side (featuring a few pros) from Chino Hills, into a 15-7 romp by scoring the final six goals at the Anaheim Convention Center's arena.
Casillas scored four goals and Colic added three for Anaheim, which sprinted to a 5-0 lead, then, as has been its custom in three PASL Pro league games, let Docemas back in the game.
Tyler Reinhart, who played at Cal Poly Pomona, scored four for the amateurs, who were missing former Galaxy defender Mike Randolph (hamstring injury), a teammate of Colic's and Bolts defender Carlos Borja's with the L.A. Blues last summer.
ANAHEIM -- The Anaheim Bolts' first official victory couldn't have been easier -- nor more of a challenge. And it took far longer than it should have.
The Bolts scored the first six goals, then hung on to hand the Turlock Express their first PASL Pro indoor league defeat with a 12-10 decision Friday night in front an announced crowd of 826 at the Anaheim Convention Center's arena.
Enrique Tovar scored four goals and assisted two more, Adriano de Lima added four assists and 42-year-old veteran Paul Wright's importance to the attacking flow was apparent from start to finish for the Bolts (1-2).
The game's start was delayed by a little more than an hour, until just past 9 p.m., because the glass at the attacking ends -- like the glass at hockey rinks -- arrived late from San Diego, where the field is borrowed from the two-time defending league champion Sockers.
The Bolts might like every game to start late.
“They just came out firing, you know what I mean?” Bolts coach Bernie Lilavois said. “They came out great. We've just got to learn to close games out. its the same scenario again. We got it here, but we almost got lucky.”
The Anaheim Bolts strengthened their defense on the eve of their third official encounter, signing former Chivas USA defender Cameron Dunn and former Real Salt Lake back Brennan Tennelle.
It isn't certain either will be available when the Bolts on Friday meet PASL Pro league Western Division leader Turlock Express and Saturday play their opener in the U.S. Open Arena Cup, both 8 p.m. starts at Anaheim Convention Center.
Dunn (Alta Loma/Alta Loma HS and UC Irvine) was drafted by Chivas USA in 2007 but never featured for the club, instead playing in the second and third tiers of the American game. He was with the third-tier L.A. Blues last spring and summer.
Tennelle (UC Santa Barbara), 25, was drafted by Real Salt Lake in 2008 but did not play for the club. He played last summer for the San Diego Flash in the National Premier Soccer League, a fourth-tier competition.
The Anaheim Bolts again battled the San Diego Sockers goal for goal. This time they kept it close.
What the expansion indoor team could not do was dial up its first victory. Brian Farber's goal 5½ minutes into overtime -- his second of the game -- lifted San Diego to a 7-6 victory Saturday night at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
The Sockers (2-0), the two-time defending Professional Arena Soccer League champion, rallied from a three-goal, third-quarter deficit to tie the score twice in the final period, forcing overtime on Majell Aterado's power-play goal with 46 seconds to go in regulation.
Adriano de Lima scored a hat trick, Hugo Casillas added two power-play goals and Enrique Tovar had a goal and three assists for the Bolts (0-2), who opened a 5-2 lead with a little less than a minute to go in the third quarter.
Anaheim took the lead six times in a 10-6 loss to the Sockers in last weekend's opener in Anaheim, fading mightily in the fourth quarter. They faded again this time, giving up three successive goals, then surged ahead on Casillas' second with 5:10 remaining. But there was no answer for Aterado, and Farber's strike ended the game.
“I feel heartbroken for the guys,” coach Bernie Lilavois told the Bolts' website. “Our guys can be real proud of their effort, but all credit to San Diego.”
The Bolts return to Anaheim Convention Center on Dec. 2 against Western Division leader Turlock Express (4-0).