NORCO, Calif. – The Los Angeles Blues defeated the Dayton Dutch Lions 4-1 on Sunday afternoon in match that saw the visitors finish the match with nine men, goalkeeper Brian Visser and defender Shane Smith being sent off early. After the Dutch Lions took the lead on an Eric Kissinger strike in the 13th minute, the Blues responded with two first-half goals from Cesar Rivera before adding tallies by Mehrshad Momeni and Gerardo Bravo after the break.
The Blues had the better of the possession early on, but they were hit on a quick through ball once again as Joel DeLass released Eric Kissinger in the penalty area and the midfielder had all the time in the world to beat goalkeeper Amir Abedzadeh with a right- footed finish in the 13th minute. The hosts showed a strong reaction to the setback, and they were rewarded just after the half-hour mark, Rivera receiving the ball in the box on a wonderful pass in from the left by Israel Sesay and camly slotting past Visser to level the score.
Los Angeles could have taken the lead in the 36th minute of play, Carlos Borja throwing the ball in deep inside the Dutch Lions half and finding Byers about five yards from goal. The Antigua and Barbuda international striker did a nice job of controlling and turning with it before hitting a hard shot that was blocked by a well-positioned Visser. The Dayton goalkeeper would be involved in the action once again just one minute later, as he was rounded by Byers on a Rivera through ball and could only prevent a sure goal by taking out the 26-year-old’s feet.
The foul resulted in a straight red card shown to Visser and a penalty-kick opportunity for Rivera, who stepped up and buried it with confidence in the 42nd minute for his second from the spot in three days. Los Angeles continued to press the issue after the break, and they were nearly rewarded in the 49th minute, Priestley hitting a hard shot from a tight angle that was blocked by Dutch Lions netminder Jesper Leerdam, who had come on following the ejection.The Blues did double their lead just one minute later, as a headed clearance by the Dayton backline fell to Mehrshad Momeni at the edge of the penalty area and the Iranian hit a beautiful first-time volley that went right over the hands of Leerdam and under the crossbar. Edwin Miranda could have added a third around the hour mark, his dangerous shot attempt whistling just wide of the post.
The Dutch Lions dug an even deeper hole for themselves in the 69th minute of play, as defender Shane Smith took out Sesay on a hard challenge and picked up his second yellow card of the match for an automatic ejection. Down to nine men, the visitors were outplayed for the remainder of the match, and the Blues would turn their domination into the game’s final goal in the 73rd minute.
Substitute Gerardo Bravo dribbled into the penalty area and hit a precise shot inside the far post to extend his side’s lead to 4-1.
Akeem Priestley could have added a fifth for Los Angeles three minute later, but his left-footed shot flew just wide of the far post.
The Blues look to build on the win when they travel to take on a strong Richmond Kickers side this coming Friday, July 22, and the Harrisburg City Islanders on Saturday, July 23. Meanwhile, the Dutch Lions hope to bounce back in their road match against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds this coming Wednesday, July 20.