By A.S. Los Angeles
A.S. Los Angeles started off their home campaign with a confident 3-1 win over cross-county rivals High Desert Elite FC. Bouncing back from last week’s disappointing loss to ASC San Diego, head coach Ramon Rivas and his squad were determined not to let another game slip away. Coming back home for their season opener at Memorial Stadium in Whittier College, A.S. Los Angeles got back to business right where they had left off from last week.
The pressure was on from kick off and ASLA looked like they were prepared for battle. They went right at High Desert, cutting through the middle with a rapid and fearless run by Bryan Perez on their first offensive possession but the visitors were quick to end the threat. That was just the beginning to what was to be an exciting first half displayed by both teams. ASLA seemed to be more composed and controlled the pace of the match with well-built attacks; however, the visitors were set to show defiance.
Both teams equally bounced back from several threatening attacks with counter attacks of their own, earning multiple free kicks and corner kicks with several transitions. The visitors were first to come closest to getting a point on the scoreboard with two quick attacks by Daniel Baumgartner. The first hit the goal post just past a diving ASLA goalkeeper Andres Flores and the second barely cleared over the crossbar with a flying header by Jason Rodriguez. That was the last of any threatening attack by the visitors as ASLA pushed back with strong pressure down the field.
It was only a matter of time before the home side came away with a goal. That moment came in the 24th minute of the match when Perez capitalized on a miscue from High Desert goalkeeper Matthew Garcia with an incredible chip goal from outside the 18-yard box into the top left corner of the goal. ASLA wanted to get a quick second but the remainder of the half were missed chances by both teams in the penalty boxes before heading into halftime.
In the start of the second half ASLA picked up right where they had left off in the first. A charging attack earned them a corner kick which resulted in the home team’s second goal. It came from a high leaping header attempt by halftime substitute Chris Ribet that was saved by goalkeeper Matthew Garcia but tapped in by ASLA midfielder Nomar Ibarra in front of the goal area. The home team’s celebrations were shortened by the quick sending off of their striker Lorenzo La Violette. This would force them to play almost an entire half with 10 men.
However, ASLA continued to control the game with a good display of ball movement, limiting the chance of dangerous play and attacks by the visitors. ASLA did not hold back and strategically picked opportunities down both touchlines and through the center even though they were down a man.
The visitors tried hard to find their rhythm and score a goal with hopes of working themselves back into the game. However, ASLA substitute Juan Maria Quinones came into the half with plans to continue his preseason scoring streak with a screamer in the 87th minute from 24 yards out into the top corner of the goal, out of the reach of visitors’ goalkeeper. The game was sealed but that didn’t stop the fighting mentality of the visitors as they were resilient in their efforts to get on the board with a perfectly taken free kick from just outside the penalty area by the visitors’ Bradley Thompson.
Man of the Match was awarded to A.S. Los Angeles midfielder Bryan Perez. High Desert Elite FC will be hosting FC Arizona next Saturday, while A.S. Los Angeles will have the first of their two bye weeks for the season.
Photo Credits: Xue Wei