The local USL sides had a pretty decent week in league play, as they both picked up points, in contrasting fashions. LA Galaxy II won 4-1 at home against Arizona United SC, while the Orange County Blues picked up a point at the death in a 1-1 encounter with Colorado Springs Switchbacks.
LA cruised in their victory against Arizona. Academy product Ryo Fujii scored his first career brace, to go with Jack McBean’s brace and assist, to power Galaxy II. The scoring opened in the 20th minute via Fujii and by the time McBean scored the game’s second goal three minutes later, the result was effectively wrapped up. It continues a pattern for LA, who are adept at scoring early and often on a regular basis this season, and who have a knack for putting games out of reach well before the final whistle. Even a second-half penalty by Long Tan for AZ United failed to put a dent in the scoreline and Galaxy II won easily yet again.
Surely, OC Blues would hope to get some of that mojo, but in their game last week they perpetrated a great escape. Facing Switchbacks FC, who earlier this month had crushed them 3-0, spirits appeared to drop when Josh Phillips put Colorado Springs ahead off a corner kick in the first half. But despite the deficit, the Blues stayed in the game and even despite playing down a man the final quarter-hour after holding midfielder Ivan Mirkovic was sent off, goalkeeper Josh Cohen’s performance kept OC in the match.
And then a pretty remarkable series of events took place. The referee called a penalty for the Blues deep in second-half stoppage time, ruling Christian Ibeagha handled the ball in his box. Truthfully, the call looked harsh, as a teammate kicked the ball away from goal into his arm, but the penalty was called nonetheless. Roy Meeus stepped up to the spot, and on the last play of the game, scored the PK to make it 1-1 and give the Blues an unlikely point.
Both teams are back in action on Saturday, as MLS takes a break and the first weekend of the Copa America Centenario gets underway. LA will be up in NorCal, taking on Sacramento Republic (8 pm PT kickoff), while the Blues will be in town, hosting Seattle Sounders 2 at Anteater Stadium in Irvine (7 pm PT kickoff).