Wonders fall to Orange County
Appeal Sports Writer
The one thing about losing streaks is that sooner or later they come to an end.
The Nevada Wonders, who had won two straight and three of their last four, fell to the league-leading Orange County Blue Stars 5-0 Saturday night at Carson High in a United Soccer League match.
The Blue Stars, who have allowed only five goals all season, improved to 10-0. The Wonders, who will start a three-game road trip next weekend in Modesto, dropped to 3-7.
And, to make matters worse, the Wonders will play their next game without midfielder Ben Callon, who was red-carded in the 48th minute, forcing the locals to play short-handed the rest of the game.
“They are a good team,” Wonders’ player-coach Paul Aigbogon said. “We never showed the way we are capable of playing. I think all their goals were because of errors we made.
“The other two games (both wins) we started out a lot more offensive. Up until their first two goals we were pretty even.”
On both of the Stars’ first two goals, OC player-coach Nick Theslof was credited with assists.
In the 16th minute, he made a nice center pass to Brenden Cloutier, who beat Nevada goalie Travis Sharp. Sixteen minutes later, Theslof popped a corner kick to Tyson Wahl, who headed it past Sharp.
As well executed as both goals were, Aigbogon felt the second one especially could have been avoided.
“They were errors by us,” the Wonders’ player-coach said. “Why did we give the corner away?”
The Stars were unable to add to the lead in the final 13 minutes of the first half, but their defense, especially in the midfield, bottled up the Wonders. Nevada only had three shots in the first 45 minutes. The Wonders’ best chance for a goal came in the 19th minutes when Anthony Grillo stole the ball from the Stars’ Cameron Dunn and barely missed wide right.
“We got off to a slow start,” Theslof said. “We were supposed to catch a flight out of LAX at 8 (a.m.), and we didn’t leave until noon. As the first half went along, we started getting sharper.”
After Callon was ejected three minutes into the second half, you knew the Wonders were going to be in for a long night.
“Against good teams (it makes a difference),” Aigbogon said. “They just moved the ball around.”
“It was tough (for Nevada),” Theslof said. “We were able to take advantage of the big field.”
The Stars made it 3-0 in the 58th minute when Adam Schave left-footed one past Sharp. Twelve minutes later, the Stars were on the board again when Calen Cann split two Wonders defenders and beat Sharp. The amazing thing about the play is that he stayed onside.
Nevada had a couple of solid scoring opportunities, but David Martin’s header off a cross by Grillo was off the mark in the 66th minute and Grillo’s shot in the 80th minute was easily scooped up by reserve goalie Will Johnson, who teamed with Nate Pena for the shutout.
The Stars closed out the scoring in the 89th minute when Ryan Martin punched in a ball that was stopped, but not controlled, by Sharp.
The Stars finished the game with 13 shots, nine on goal. The Wonders finished with 11 shots, but just three on goal.
Darrell Moody can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling (775) 881-1281