Los Angeles Soccer: Cory Miller
After scoring four goals in overtime to win their U.S. Open Cup opener last week over the Fullerton Rangers, the Premier Development League powerhouse netted two on Tuesday, dispensing with the L.A. Blues in a second-round clash.
Francisco Lopez scored his second goal of the game in the 107th minute -- 17 minutes into the extra period -- and Travis Bowen, Chivas USA forward Tristan Bowen's brother, added another with four minutes to go, and the Fusion stunned the USL Pro club, 3-1, before a sparse crowd at Fullerton College's Sherbeck Field.
Their reward: a third-round showdown next Tuesday night against Chivas USA at Ventura College, pending expected U.S. Soccer approval of the site.
Francisco Lopez converted an extremely iffy penalty kick to force overtime, and UCLA goalkeeper Earl Edwards made a save on Allan Russell's penalty kick for a Blues win in the 85th minute, but there was no doubt which side was more deserving.
With Rodrigo Lopez, a former Chivas USA and the Portland Timbers midfield, running the field, the Fusion absorbed heavy early pressure, gave up an own goal after just 13 minutes, and spent the rest of the game outbattling the Blues all over the field.
“And now we have a home game against Chivas, which we really relish,” said Fusion head coach Ole Mikkelsen, who watched the final 23 minutes of overtime from just outside Ventura County's locker room after he was sent off for angrily protesting a call. “I have to say, I thought we were [the better team]. We came out slow, which is to be expected: They're a pro team, they play together every day, they're more comfortable with each other.
“Unfortunately, a miscommunication led to that own goal -- those things happen. It could have buried us, but we kept battling, we added some rhythm, and as soon as we got that first goal, I knew that we were in it, and I knew we had a chance to take it from them.”
The Cuban star, who scored a dozen goals in his first of four seasons with the Goats and spent last year with FC Dallas, is expected to sign shortly with the Blues, in time to be available for their next game, May 4 against the Wilmington Hammerheads.
Galindo, 31, on Tuesday made his first game appearance since the Major League Soccer season ended last fall, starting up top for the Blues in a 3-2 loss to the Galaxy in a closed-door scrimmage at Home Depot Center. Head coach/general manager Charlie Naimo can envision him there when points are on the line.
“He's going to be great once he gets fit ...,” said Naimo, whose Fullerton-based team dropped 1-0 and 2-0 decisions the past two weekends against the Rochester Rhinos. “He's a good guy, he's probably 60 percent fit right now, so he'll probably pick up another 20 to 25 percent before we get to the next game, and he'll be dangerous.
“If teams don't press us like the Galaxy presses and we have the ball territorially like we've been having it in our other games, he's going to get goals. You're going to have to play different against us when he's on the field, because he's resourceful and he finds ways. Once we get first goals in games, teams are going to have to play different against us. They can't sit all day and counter us, they're going to have to start playing.”
The Blues dominated possession in their games against Rochester but didn't create enough chances and failed to finish the chances that did develop. They expect to be more successful when defenses aren't as packed in as was the Rhinos'.
Naimo said the club “should have a deal done pretty soon” with Galindo, who has delighted just to play -- although the Galaxy had nearly constant possession in the 62 minutes he was on the field.
“It was good to be back,” Galindo said. “I haven't played for a long, long, long, long time. I'm happy to be in L.A., but right now for me it's like I'm starting from zero. It's good to be with the Blues, I'm working hard and I'm so happy to be back and playing a little soccer.”