Charlie Naimo's Los Angeles Blues can learn a lesson from their female counterparts, the Pali Blues—also managed by Naimo—in terms of winning games.
These past few days, while the Los Angeles Kings have been all the rage in the Greater Los Angeles area, the Pali Blues, LA's most successful women's soccer organization, have been on a tear of their own.
The streak of good news for the Blues continued on June 6, when midfielder Servet Uzunlar was named to the W-League Team of the Week for Week 4 of the 2012 season. Uzunlar's game-winner against the Santa Clarita Blue Heat on June 2 was more than enough to state her case.
Pali continued their dominant run against the Victoria Highlanders, who they routed 8-0 at the Stadium by the Sea on the campus of Palisades Charter High School in Los Angeles. Despite the offensive explosion, Naimo was disappointed with a number of aspects regarding Pali's play.
"I think we were very sloppy early and terrible around the goal," Naimo told BluesSoccerClub.com. "Once we broke the ice, it got a bit better. We gave chances late, which suggests we stopped playing.
"I am happy with the score, but not as happy with the game."
Defender Michelle Pao opened the scoring for Pali in the third minute thanks to Lynn Williams, who also got in the score sheet in the 35th minute. Christie Shaner made it 3-0 for the Blues two minutes later.
The second half saw Victoria capitulate in horrendous fashion after Pali made some substitutions.
Danielle Hubka converted a penalty in the 66th minute and Anne Marie Tangorra made it 5-0 in seconds later thanks to Anisa Guajardo, who got on the score sheet with a brace in the 73rd and 82nd minutes of play. Williams completed her brace just a minute after Gujardo had scored her second.
"We need to get sharper if we are going to talk about playoffs," Naimo stressed. "I am looking forward to getting the team on the road. I think it will bring us closer together."
The matches against the Colorado Rapids and Colorado Rush proved to be a little bit more competitive, but with the same result.
Williams, who has been on a hot streak with her scoring, recorded another brace in the 26th and 53rd minutes to propel Pali to a 2-1 victory over the Rapids at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado.
“The conditions were extremely challenging,” Naimo told BluesSoccerClub.com. “Between the wind and altitude, it made for some interesting moments.
"That being said, the team got up 2-0 and were able to fight for the win. It is great that they were able to come through because that result in such a match will make us mentally tougher.”
The match with the Rush was a slightly different story, as Pali pitched a 3-0 shutout back at Dick's on Sunday. Liz Bogus, Nikki Washington and Danielle Hubka recorded goals for the Blues.
With an important stretch of matches out of the way, Pali will take a breather before the most critical stretch of the regular season takes place in the Pacific Northwest.
On June 20, the Blues travel to Tukwila, Washington and the Starfire Sports Complex for a match against the Seattle Sounders. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET. This match has significant implications for the W-League Western Conference regular-season race, as both teams are at the top of the standings.
On June 22, the Blues travel to Royal Athletic Park in Victoria, B.C. to face the Highlanders. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET. Pali wrap up their road swing on June 24 against the Vancouver Whitecaps at Kinsmen Sports Complex in Vancouver, B.C. Kickoff is scheduled for 12 p.m. PT/3 p.m. ET.