Bryan Burke's two goals lifts Los Angeles Blues to victory at IMG

jdill@bradenton.comJuly 14, 2012 

BRADENTON -- Los Angeles head coach Charlie Naimo said he felt the opposition was the better team on Friday.

Antigua Barracuda F.C. head coach Tom Curtis agreed with Naimo's assessment of the USL Pro soccer match between the two clubs that was picked up in the 13th minute after Thursday's suspension due to an unplayable pitch.

But in soccer, playing better doesn't mean you'll win.

What counts are goals on the scoreboard, and the L.A. Blues recorded two Friday morning at IMG Academies to put a 3-0 score line in the books between the two days and earn an important three points with the victory.

"I feel that Antigua came out (Friday) harder than we did, and had we not had the goal advantage, it would've been a completely different game," Naimo said. "To defend our guys, they've had to deal with a lot. They're an east coast team, technically we're waking up (Friday) morning at 3:45. We talked about this (Thursday), how it could backfire for you. It's a measured risk, instead of playing in the evening and having less time of recovery going to (Saturday), we have that extra six hours as opposed to playing the game at 4. And six hours of recovery could mean a lot going to (Saturday's) match."

L.A., which scored through Bryan Burke before play was halted Thursday, was in a back-and-forth struggle with Antigua.

The Barracudas nearly equalized in first-half stoppage time with a curling free kick that was punched away with a diving effort from L.A.'s keeper.

But after the restart, L.A. had the bulk of chances and cashed in about midway through the second half.

Brian Farber, an Oregon State University alum from Idaho, swung a cross from the right wing that was intended for forward Max Griffin.

Griffin, a new addition to the Blues after Orlando City loaned him out for the remainder of the season on Thursday, missed the ball and Antigua's keeper was rooted to the ground as it bounced inside the far post for an unlikely goal.

"Service is one of my things that I'm pretty good at, so I just was looking for the right one," said Farber, who scored for the first time this season. "He made that run, and it's the first time he and I have played with each other. So I figured why not throw it to his head and see what he can do. And he missed it by like an inch. Probably even touched his hair, but it skimmed over and it was just on line with the corner. So I'll take the goal."

That freak goal lifted the Blues, and whatever momentum wasn't theirs firmly steered their way after the Barracudas went down to 10 men after a sending off.

"We made some silly errors again, and the sending off is a daft one," Curtis said. "The boy's already been booked and knows he can't foul, and he goes and fouls. It's stupid, and I thought we crumbled after that. It was disappointing."

Any chance of a comeback was quelled with a third L.A. tally, with Farber doing what he does best - distributing with a cross to the top of the box for a waiting Burke.

Burke, playing his first match in the midfield from his listed roster slot as a defender, buried his right-footed effort for a brace.

"I've never had that happen before, start a game in the (13th) minute on the second day," said Burke, who had one goal in his previous 14 matches prior to the Thursday-Friday contest against Antigua.

The two sides reconvene at IMG for another match, originally scheduled for 4 p.m. on Saturday.

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