LA Galaxy II, OC Blues Split First 405 Derby of Season

LA Galaxy II, OC Blues Split First 405 Derby of Season

Despite entering the game in opposing form, local rivals LA Galaxy II and the Orange County Blues squared off on Friday in the first 2016 edition of the 405 Derby, and split the points following a 1-1 draw. Jose Villarreal opened the scoring midway through the second half for LA at the StubHub Center, before Didier Crettenand tied it up several minutes later.

The game, increasingly chippy as it went on, something that’s perhaps unsurprising for a rivalry match, was fairly evenly played. The home side did have the bulk of the chances, but OC also got their shots in, and most of the game was played in the middle third of the field.

Villarreal, the Homegrown midfielder on loan from the first team, took a pass from Jack McBean in the 68th minute, turning a defender around in the box before slotting it past Blues goalkeeper Brandon Miller. It was a well-taken goal and it appeared LA might get the full allotment of points yet again.

But Crettenand took a free kick from the left side of LA’s 18-yard box minutes later, and instead of aiming for a teammate to get to the ball at the far post, it went directly on goal and in the net to tie it up. The Swiss midfielder, who has been a bit unlucky with chances clanging off the woodwork in the first couple games of the season, opened his account for 2016.

It was just the third time in the series history the Blues grabbed any points against Galaxy II, out of 10 meetings, so it was a significant result on their end, and not just because of who they did it against. The Blues also tallied their first point of the season, after starting the USL season 0-2-0. It looks like the group, which is a mostly new lineup, is starting to find its footing this season.

For the Galaxy II, the draw maintains their unbeaten start to the season and they remain atop the Western Conference. They’ve also dealt with lineup shuffling, something that is not uncommon for an MLS2 team, as Galaxy first-teamers Dan Kennedy and Jeff Larentowicz started the game to rehab from injuries. Larentowicz, who has yet to make his debut for LA in MLS after offseason surgery, may be pressed into duty sooner than later if Nigel de Jong will be suspended, as expected. Meanwhile, Kennedy was arguably at fault for failing to recognize Crettenand’s floated free kick making its way into the net, but one wouldn’t expect him to stick around for very long with the USL side, regardless.

The respective teams will now prepare for their next games, which by a quirk of regionalism and scheduling happen to be against the same opponent. Galaxy II will host new USL team San Antonio FC on Wednesday at StubHub Center before OC hosts San Antonio at Anteater Stadium on Saturday.