LOS ANGELES, Calif. – In most cases, a point on the road will leave the players and coaching staff of the visiting side happy. However, the Los Angeles Blues found it hard to crack a smile following Friday night’s 1-1 draw with hosts Dayton Dutch Lions, as Head Coach Charlie Naimo’s men failed to come away with a win despite taking the lead in only the 6th minute of play.
“We scored on a corner kick that was crossed in from the right,” Blues forward Tomislav Colic remembered. “Their defense tried to clear the ball, but we challenged hard and got it to fall to us at the top of the box. Jhonatan Bravo had a perfect touch and hit a nice shot into the upper ninety to the ‘keepers left. It was beautifully placed and absolutely unstoppable.”
However, the Blues were unable to hold on to the one-goal advantage, as they saw Dutch Lions striker Kolby Lacrone tie things up at the hour mark to earn the home team its first point of the 2011 USL PRO season.
“My analysis would be that we had most of the possession throughout the game while they were dangerous on the counter attack,” Colic continued. “They tried hitting us with long balls over the top from their own backline, and that’s how they scored. Everyone was solid and played hard for us, but we were caught flat on the play and once again one mistake cost us points. We’re all really disappointed we didn’t get the win.”
The sentiment was echoed by Blues defender Cameron Dunn.
“The goal was the result of a combination of errors,” the California native assessed. “I headed the ball back down into traffic and a Dayton player was able to poke it away on a sliding tackle. Somehow it made it all the way through our backline to their forward, who I was hoping might be offsides. But the flag stayed down and he was able to put it away. We were just caught a little flat and we paid for it.”
Charlie Naimo was quick to acknowledge that the officiating crew’s decision to let play continue was correct.
“It looked like Lacrone might be offsides at first, but he really was on,” the man in charge of the Blues admitted. “The extremely unfortunate part is that the ball happened to go right over our backline on a slide tackle and caught everyone by surprise that way. It’s just really frustrating that we left points on the table again.”
Tomislav Colic identified the absences of star playmaker Walter Gaitán and striker Cesar Rivera as a major part of the reason his side was unable to seal the deal against the Dutch Lions. The attacking duo has a combined six goals and three assists on the season, despite being unable to start several games due to their respective injuries. Gaitán is suffering from quadriceps pain, while Rivera is laboring a toe injury as well as a light ankle sprain. Both were forced to miss the clash with the Dutch Lions as a result.
“I feel like we really missed Cesar and Walter out there,” Colic offered. “Being a forward, it helps me so much to get the passes from them that put me in a position to capitalize. We need all of our best players healthy so we can convert our possession into more dangerous chances in front of the goal.”
Despite sharing the entire team’s frustration about the two most recent results, a 2-1 home loss to Charlotte followed by the tie with the Dutch Lions, Cameron Dunn did his best to keep spirits high ahead of Sunday’s meeting with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
“I feel like we’re getting punished for the little mistakes we’re making,” the defender said. “The soccer gods really aren’t handing us any favors right now, but it’s key that we stay positive as a group. We’ll talk the last game over and make the proper adjustments before our match at Pittsburgh. I’m sure our time will come if we just keep believing in ourselves.”