Charlie Naimo's Los Angeles Blues were off to a terrible start to the season and were in desperate need of a positive result. They had their chance to fix the problem this past weekend against the Wilmington Hammerheads.
But first, they acquired some new blood into the lineup. Enter Cory Miller, a 6'3" center back whose last club was the Carolina Railhawks of the North American Soccer League.
“We always knew that we wanted another tall center back who is good in the air,” Associate Head Coach Shayon Jalayer told Gunnar Berndt of LABluesProSoccer.com. “Around USL PRO, you see a lot of crosses whipped into the box from the wide positions, or even long balls hit directly over the top of the defense. Cory is a great player for those situations as well as on defensive set pieces. In addition, he could be very dangerous on our own attacking set pieces.
“One thing we never neglect is technical ability, so we made sure Cory is also good with his feet. Finally, he brings the experience of having played at a very similar level before. That’s huge because it means he doesn’t need to adjust to it and we can utilize him right away.”
Miller would be put to good use immediately against the Wilmington Hammerheads, starting with the first match on May 4 at Sherbeck Field on the campus of Fullerton College in Fullerton, Calif. The end result, a 2-1 victory over Wilmington.
After Bryce Taylor capitalized on a delivery from former Blues star Chukwudi Chijindu in the 39th minute of play, LA rallied behind goals from Matt Rondy in the 49th minute and Allen Russell off a penalty in the 57th minute of play. Russell was also responsible for setting up the Rondy equalizer.
With their first win under their belts, the Blues were hoping to build on their result on Sunday at Titan Stadium on the campus of California State University, Fullerton in Fullerton, Calif. However, history has shown that Titan Stadium has not been friendly to the Blues, and it proved to be the case yet again.
Hakop Avesyan scored a brace in the 66th and 75th minutes of play for the Hammerheads, but goals from Eryls Garcia and Park Cheun-Yong salvaged a 2-2 draw late for Los Angeles, who improve to 1-2-1 (four points).
This coming weekend, the Blues travel on the road for a couple of key USL PRO encounters.
On May 11, Los Angeles take on the Dayton Dutch Lions at Miami Valley South Stadium in Bellbrook, Ohio. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. PT/7:30 p.m. ET.
On May 12, the Blues take on the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at Chartiers Valley High School in Bridgeville, Pa. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET.