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Pro soccer: No stopping the slide

Blue Heat return home, lose third straight to fall in standings

Posted: July 2, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: July 2, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Coming off a difficult five-game roadtrip, the Santa Clarita Blue Heat didn’t get the kind of homecoming it sought on Sunday.

It had been three weeks since the Blue Heat last played a home game, but the team’s midseason slump continued in a 2-1 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps in a United Soccer League W-League game at Valencia High School.

After winning just one game out of five in a road trip that took it to Colorado and then throughout the Pacific Northwest, Santa Clarita (3-5-2) made some of the same miscues that have been causing problems all season long.
“We just gave the Whitecaps a little more space,” said Blue Heat head coach Charles Martinez. “In all these last few games, we’ve been making a lot of big mistakes in the back.”

The same two teams faced off June 22 in Vancouver, and Martinez said it was two defensive mistakes that led to a pair of second-half goals for the Whitecaps (3-4-4), who won the game 2-0.

This time around, it was another error that helped Vancouver score in the 69th minute to break up a 1-1 tie and send Santa Clarita to its third straight loss.

“When we played (Vancouver) up there in Canada, we dominated the whole game and we missed a lot of opportunities,” Martinez said. “It was the same thing down here.”

The Blue Heat did manage to push a goal through when Stacey Rodwell scored unassisted in the 57th minute to equalize Vancouver’s first-half goal by Mele French.

With the loss, Santa Clarita was leapfrogged in the Western Conference standings by the Whitecaps, who are now in fifth place and one point ahead of the sixth-place Blue Heat.

Fortunately for the Blue Heat, all four of their remaining regular season games will take place at Valencia High, with the next coming Wednesday against Colorado Rush at 4 p.m.



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