The LA Blues came out in spectacular fashion tonight in Fullerton, scoring five goals in the first half, and knocking Ventura County Fusion out of the Second Round of the US Open Cup and advancing to the Third Round of the US Open Cup, where they will face MLS side Chivas USA.
The Fusion started out with possession for the first minute, but created very little chances and the Blues were quick to win the ball from the get go. Four minutes in, a perfectly crossed ball from Shay Spitz found Gabriel Gonzalez, who headed the ball into goal, giving the Blues an early 1-0 lead and kickstarting an onslaught that saw them up by three by the 12-minute mark.
The Fusion gained possession and bounced back making a run to set up Ema Boateng, who clumsily skied a shot just over the Blues bar in the sixth minute.
But not even a minute later, the Blues were on the attack when Matt Hall crossed a ball to Spitz, who struck with his left foot from the top of the box into the upper left corner for a spectacular finish, giving LA a 2-0 lead in just under 10 minutes.
You’d think the Fusion would start to look alive after finding themselves down two goals in 10 minutes, but it was quite the opposite, actually, as they themselves down by three only two minutes later. Mehrshad Momeni found a ball played from his right and danced around until he found some space to strike from distance, putting a rocket into the back of the net from about 20 yards out.
The entire first half was the LA Blues show, and now down by three the Fusion attempted to pick up the aggression when Frankie Lopez gained possession and spun a shot high, but it went well wide of the Blues’ net.
In the 29th minute things got worse for Ventura County when a defender dragged Gonzalez down in the box and the referee whistled for a penalty to the Blues. Allen Russell converted the penalty for LA and the Blues, now up 4-0, rode the advantage out, scoring another goal six minutes later. It was Momeni again, firing another 20-yarder off a corner cross and putting the Blues up by five.
In the 40th minute, Fusion midfielder Steve Palacios was given a yellow card for a hard foul on Momemi on the edge of the area that resulted in him being carried off after several minutes laying on the ground in pain.
The Fusion saw three more chances before the halftime whistle, but shots were high and wide.
Sam Hayden came up with a couple of big saves for Ventura County early and midway through the second half, preventing what could have been a sixth goal for the Blues. The Fusion saw a chance in the 68th minute but the header went high. Finally, in the 87th minute, the Fusion put themselves on the scoreboard when Peter Schmetz flicked a cross with his head into the back of the net from the six.
The Blues held onto their four-goal lead up until the final whistle blew, handing the Fusion a record loss as it was the first time in four years in which the Fusion have lost a game by more than one goal, including previous fixtures against the Blues and Chivas USA.