Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By MIKE GRAMAJO
Week one of the 2014 USL Pro season is in the books, and it brought plenty of action during opening weekend.
The LA Galaxy II lived up to the hype in their USL Pro debut at the StubHub Center as they went on to claim a 3-1 victory over the Orange County Blues FC on Saturday night in front of 1,259 fans.
“The atmosphere was excellent,” Galaxy II head coach Curt Onalfo said after the match. “The LA Galaxy organization did an excellent job putting resources into this and making this first class.”
Forward Charlie Rugg scored the Galaxy II’s first goal in the 40th minute after a failed clearance from the Blues back line allowed Rugg to pounce from outside the box, drilling a low-screamer into the net. Blues midfielder Stephen Okai equalized the match two minutes later when his free kick curled into the net, beating goalkeeper Cody Laurendi.
Midfielder Kenney Walker gave Los Dos the lead again, scoring off a rebounded shot off the post just before halftime. Walker returned later to assist with the dagger, sending a cross for Daniel Steres to head into goal.
With the victory, the LA Galaxy II sit provisionally atop the USL Pro standings with three points after Orlando City and Charleston Battery drew 1-1 earlier in the evening.
Here is the rest of Week 1 action of the USL Pro:
BATTERY AND LIONS DRAW EVEN AT BLACKBAUD
Orlando City midfielder Austin da Luz’s 75th minute goal salvaged one point for the 2013 USL Pro champions in a 1-1 draw against Charleston Battery in front of 3,773 at Blackbaud Stadium.
“I think it was a fair result,” Battery head coach Mike Anheauser told The Post and Courier. “They are a very talented team, a tough team to play against, so getting a point I think is definitely something we can build on. We play them two more times and I know those games will be just as tough.”
The Charleston Battery received five players on loan from the Vancouver Whitecaps earlier in the week and it paid dividends into the opening goal in the 65th minute. Omar Salgado’s pass found Mamadou Diouf in the top right flank of the field, beating the Orlando defense, and Diouf’s curling shot slid past goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo as the ball hit the top left corner of the net.
The Lions, however, dominated possession for most of the game and found an equalizer. Midfielder Austin da Luz tied the match in the 75th minute, taking advantage of a loose ball from close range to beat Battery goalkeeper Odisnel Cooper.
OCSC’s search for the game-winner followed when Heath brought in forward Dennis Chin to team up with Corey Hertzog, but the Battery’s defense refused to give in. Orlando was presented another chance to take the lead when Charleston midfielder Quentin Griffith received a straight red card for a careless tackle on defender Luke Boden during stoppage time.
The Battery continue their home stretch on Saturday when they welcome 2013 regular season champions Richmond Kickers to Blackbaud Stadium. Meanwhile, Orlando City will face the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
What did you think of week one? Were you impressed with the LA Galaxy II’s inaugural match? Did you think the Battery played well to hold off Orlando City from victory? What other matches are you waiting for?
Share your thoughts below.