Phoenix FC shut out in franchise debut
FULLERTON, Calif. – The Los Angeles Blues got goals in either half to open the 2013 USL Pro season with a 2-0 victory over expansion side Phoenix FC. George Davis IV and Chris Cortez had the goals for the Blues, while Phoenix had to play for more than a half at just 10 men after Anthony Obodai was sent off.
The Blues got off the better start and had the opening opportunity in the fifth minute, as Cortez shot just over the crossbar. The Wolves began to come into the game as the half wore on, but they fell behind in the 25th minute as a good low cross by Matt Hall from the right was met by Davis, who was cutting in from the left side of the penalty area and finished with a first-timer.
“I definitely wanted to get on the board. I know I’m going to have to score some goals this year. Matt got down the side and put a great ball into the box, and I was able to get at the end of it,” said Davis.
Phoenix was reduced to 10 men four minutes before halftime, with Obodai seeing red after a strong challenge on Los Angeles’ Juan Perez. The Blues were able to gain more control up a man, and then doubled their lead four minutes into the second half as Cortez headed home a well-delivered free kick by Rodrigo Lopez.
The Blues remained in control for much of the second half, but Phoenix almost found the back of the net to set up a big finish with less than 10 minutes to go, a header from a free kick being well saved by Carl Woszczynski. Los Angeles was able to close out the game, however, winning its first home opener in club history.
“It’s a great start. You can’t ask for anything better. The players played with great disciple. They were defensively strong,” said head coach Jesus Rico-Sanz. “When we had the ball, they moved it well. The midfield played very well, first and second half. We missed the finishing in the last third. I’m very pleased.”
Phoenix returns home for its home opener next Saturday night against Tampa Bay at Sun Devil Soccer Stadium at 7:30 p.m.
"It’s a great start. You can’t ask for anything better," Phoenix coach David Robertson said. "The players played with great discipline. They were defensively strong. When we had the ball, they moved it well. The midfield played very well, first and second half. We missed the finishing in the last third. I’m very pleased. Even when they had 11 on the field, I thought we could take the win. In the second half, at no point did I think they could score on us. We could have capitalized on two or three chances.”