The first of May 2011 will go down as a lousy day for the Los Angeles area soccer teams.
This is different from the last day of April, in which Chivas USA did the business against the New England Revolution. Both Bruce Arena's Los Angeles Galaxy and Charlie Naimo's dropped critical matches in their respective leagues.
The Galaxy fell late in the second half thanks to Brek Shea's 88th minute heroics 2-1, while the Blues did not play like the Blues and were left singing the blues in a 1-0 shutout defeat to Antigua Barracuda FC. Antigua Barracuda FC, of all teams!
A now-not-so-diminutive club from the tiny island nation of Antigua and Barbuda, which happens to be home to the 100th-best national team in the world.
Oh yeah. So much for Antigua being just a cricket country. That's a full-blown lie, as Steffan Smith proved in the 24th minute on a hot, dusty, stifling, excruciating afternoon at Titan Stadium.
One has to give credit to the fans who bothered to show up to the home opener on Sunday, because they were dealt a cruel, unacceptable, unforgivable injustice in the form of the Los Angeles Blues playing nowhere close to the team that stormed through April with a modest 3-0-1 record.
The home faithful were treated instead to bad passes, terrible dribbling, ugly finishing, and a woeful defensive display highlighted by Blues goalkeeper Oscar Dautt playing like a deadbeat with osteoporosis on the chance for Antigua's Pete Byers, which was then converted by Smith on the rebound.
If the Galaxy reserves needed a punching bag after their MLS Reserve Division stinker to Portland, they may find it in this club.
No one starting on the pitch for the LA Blues was able to step up for Walter Gaitan, who became a late scratch after injuring himself during warmups. Now, from my understanding, warmups are, in theory, supposed to get you match fit and ready for the game.
They're not supposed to keep you out of it.
That being said, I doubt that Walter Gaitan will last the rest of this season in USL PRO. This was an injury that should have been avoided. In fact, I believe he should have walked away from the game before considering signing for the Blues. He just doesn't have it.
The fans wanted to see what he can do. Guess the only thing he can do was sign autographs.
Just great. Hey, I got an idea: let me don a practice jersey and practice my John Hancock. So what I may pull a groin muscle doing nothing? At least I let myself be known; what could go wrong?
For the LA Blues, just about everything went wrong. I will give this fledgling club credit for limiting Byers the goal-scoring primadonna to zero on the tally sheet, but it's still an F performance for not establishing any continuity and for not playing LA Blues soccer.
This decrepit effort is worthy of an apology from Naimo, as far as anyone should be concerned. Maybe even a refund, a la Seattle.
A coach in Charlie Naimo that has done so well with the girls may have it a bit tough with the guys. Charlotte Eagles, hope and pray that Gaitan is sidelined in two weeks, and that the disconnected farce for football carries over.
Speaking of hoping and praying, the Galaxy were hoping and praying that Mother Nature would postpone the match long enough to declare the contest between them and FC Dallas as a 1-1 draw.
Bruce Arena, how many more times do I have to tell you: the teams that will win hardware win matches in the rain. Heavy rain. Downpours. Lightning. Adverse weather conditions.
Your players failed to do so, and now they pay the price.
Of course, being able to limit your mistakes as a goalkeeper could be useful. That's right, I'm talking to you, Donovan Ricketts. When you can't neutralize another up-and-comer like Fabian Castillo, it makes you look like a complete fool.
I don't believe His Holiness Pope John Paul II, who was beatified hours ago, would approve of such a display from both of these Los Angeles teams on Sunday. Maybe a little divine intervention against Charlotte and Red Bull New York for the G's on Saturday at Victoria Street could lift their spirits higher.
Wait a minute. Did I just say Red Bull New York? The Red Bull New York with Juan Agudelo, Rafa MArquez and (gasp) Thierry Henry?
In that case, may the football gods have mercy on us here in the City of Angels. Have mercy on us all!
INS & OUTS
Youth Academy Update
On Saturday, April 30, the Los Angeles Galaxy Youth Academy took on Chivas USA in the Mini Clasico at the Home Depot Center. The Galaxy Under-18's drew 2-2, while the Under-16s defeated Chivas 1-0.
Next up for the Young G's is a set of contests with NY Cosmos Academy West at the HDC on Saturday, May 7.
Yes, the battle of New York sides is not restricted to the senior level, mind. You see, there is another club launching a comeback bid, speared by you-know-who to bring football back to you-know-where.
Kickoff for the Under-18s is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. PT/4:00 p.m. ET while the Under-16s battle at 3:30 p.m. PT/6:30 p.m. ET.
Both matches will be held at Field 5.