The Blues followed a horrendous U.S. Open Cup showing with a solid effort to claim a point against the USL Pro's defending champion and standings leader. They couldn't sustain it to close a two-game East Coast swing, falling Saturday to the Charleston Battery.
L.A.'s failure to adequately defend a corner kick, the same thing that cost it a goal in Thursday's 1-1 draw at Orlando City, was decisive, with Colin Falvey nodding home a serve from former Fresno Fuego star Jose “Chiva” Cuevas in the 14th minute.
The Battery's defense did the rest, shutting down a fatigued Blues attack from start to finish. L.A. managed just one good chance, an Allan Russell blast that kissed the top of the crossbar in the 37th minute.
The Blues started last week with a poor performance in the Open Cup, dropping a 3-1 overtime decision to the Ventura County Fusion and missing out on a chance to take on Chivas USA this week. A terrific effort snagged the point at Orlando, but the attack was ailing Saturday with Matt Fondy out injured, Cheun-Yong Park not at 100 percent, Maykel Galindo still searching for game fitness, and Bright Dike exhausted after too many games in too short a span.
Head coach Charlie Naimo made three changes at halftime, one for Galindo, but also pulling midfielders Irving Garcia, who had not played in Florida, and Israel Sesay, who saw only a few minutes against Orlando City.
The loss drops the Blues (3-3-2, 11 points) from fourth to fifth in the third-division USL Pro, a dozen points off the lead. Charleston (5-2-0, 15 points) is third.
L.A. is off until a two-game set June 15 and 17 against the winless Dayton Dutch Lions at Cal State Fullerton.
Blackbaud Stadium (Charleston, S.C.)
Charleston Battery 1, L.A. Blues 0
C -- Colin Falvey (Jose Cuevas) 14
Charleston Battery: Andrew Dykstra; John Wilson, Colin Falvey, Kyle Hoffer, Taylor Mueller; Tony Donatelli, Amadou Sanyang, Navion Boyd (Ryan Richter, 79), Nicki Paterson; Jose Cuevas, Salieu Bundu. Unused subs: Sean Flatley, Michael Izira, Dane Kelly, Zach Prince, Charlie Romero, Joseph Wichmann.
L.A. Blues: Amir Abedzadeh; Bryan Burkel, Ebrima Jatta, Erlys Garcia, Sun-Hyung Cho (Shay Spitz, 83); Israel Sesay (Cheun-Yong Park, 46), Allan Russell, Carlos Borja, Irving Garcia (George Davis IV, 46); Bright Dike, Maykel Galindo (Ladislas Bushiri, 46). Unused subs: Cory Miller, Jose Miranda, Ricky Waddell.
Yellow cards: Falvey 12, Hoffer 18, Russell 45, Jatta 48, Park 78, Miller 86, Spitz 88.
Referee: Patrick O'Brien. Att.: 4,144.
Records: Charleston Battery 5-2-0, 15 points; L.A. Blues 4-2-2, 14 points.