NORCO, Calif. – The Los Angeles Blues dropped a 2-1 decision to visiting Antigua Barracuda FC on Friday night. George Dublin gave Antigua the lead early in the game before Chukwudi Chijindu tied things up halfway through the first period. Ranja Christian put his side back on top in the 66th minute, and the Cudas defended well to hold on to the one-goal advantage and three valuable road points.
The Blues found themselves down a goal in only the second minute of play, Antigua captain George Dublin receiving the ball from Orlando Mitchum on the right flank and seeing his mishit cross attempt bend right over goalkeeper Oscar Dautt and into the side netting. However, the home side would tie things up on a 21st minute through ball by Cesar Rivera to Chukwudi Chijindu, who muscled off a defender and finished past onrushing Antigua netminder Keita de Castro to make it 1-1.
Neither team created any noteworthy opportunities in the second half until Antigua took the lead in the 66th minute. Justin Cochrane streaked down the left flank and centered the ball to Christian, who hit a well placed shot low and inside the near post to put the visitors on top. Israel Sesay could have leveled the score for Los Angeles two minutes later, as he found himself one-on-one with De Castro, only to see his attempted finish blocked by the 30-year-old goalkeeper.
The game’s best save came on the other end, however, Christian finding himself one-on-one With Dautt, who held his ground for a point-blank stop that kept his side in the game. Ranja had another golden opportunity to seal the deal five minutes later, as the ball fell to him on an Antigua counter-attack. With plenty of time to pick a corner, the 33-year-old sent the ball just wide of the left post.
The closing stages saw the Blues attacking furiously and at one point appealing for a hand ball inside the Antigua penalty area, but they were unable to find the net as the visitors held on for a hard-earned 2-1 road win.
Los Angeles hopes to bounce back from the disappointing result when it hosts Antigua Barracuda FC at Norco’s Mustang Stadium once again this coming Sunday, July 31. Kickoff is at 5 p.m. PST.