USL was back in action on the weekend after the U.S. Open Cup round for many league teams midweek, and it was a mixed bag for the local teams involved, as the LA Galaxy II battled back for a 1-1 draw against Seattle Sounders 2 on the road, and the Orange County Blues lost 3-1 away at Real Monarchs SLC.
LA had an uphill climb in their game at Starfire Stadium on Sunday, as Alejandro Covarrubias was sent off less than a half-hour into the match after picking up two yellow cards. S2 capitalized on the man advantage, as they went ahead just before halftime through Mark O’Ojong, who hit a beautiful rising one-timer on the tally.
But Galaxy II battled back, and despite playing with 10 men, eventually found an equalizer, courtesy of defender Dave Romney off a corner kick, in the 81st minute. Goalkeeper Clement Diop did his job as well in preserving the point for his embattled team.
The Blues, meanwhile, had tougher sledding in their game against Real Salt Lake’s USL side on Saturday. Dusan Stefanovic scored his first goal for the Blues inside the first 10 minutes, as he crushed a cross on the half-volley to put the visitors ahead. And given Orange County’s recent ability to wrestle control of a game after taking a lead, it seemed the game was going exactly the way they wanted.
But the early goal gave Monarchs plenty of time to get back in the game, and in the second half, their increased pressure paid off. The Blues’ set piece defending faltered twice in a row, as Ricardo Velazco scored in the 50th minute off a free kick and Alec Sundly added one nine minutes later from a corner kick.
Velazco, who was the man of the match, then iced the win in the 69th minute with a terrific individual play, dribbling through several Blues defenders before putting the ball in the net.
The results leave LA in third place in the Western Conference, down one spot, while the Blues remain firmly in the middle of Western pack in eighth place.