Riding a five-game losing streak, now was the time for Los Angeles Blues manager Charlie Naimo to make some wheelings and dealings.
“Everybody in the league is tired right now, so I’m not allowing exhaustion to be an excuse anymore,” Naimo told LABluesProSoccer's Gunnar Berndt. “The bottom line is that we need to be better, which is why we’re working diligently to make some critical personnel changes before the roster freeze date.
“Our team will get a little bit of a facelift. Everyone here has had plenty of time to prove that they can impact our team in a positive manner, and that didn’t happen in some cases. Things have just gotten stale. Too many of the guys are comfortable and need a reality check. Very few have been consistent and some just aren’t working to earn their positions right now. That leaves us with no choice but to mix things up.”
“It’s never personal, but we’re absolutely going to release players and trade to bring on others who we think can help us. I’m exhausting every minute of my time right now to try to find a way for us to get better in our personnel. Just having added a few new faces, I already know we’ll have a better squad traveling to Florida to play Antigua. The guys on board definitely feel the urgency.”
While Bright Dike's loan from the Portland Timbers ended, another Timber was added to the team in Andrew Jean-Baptiste. Orlando City's Maxwell Griffin was also acquired on loan, as were defender Josh Suggs and goalkeeper Carl Woszcynski.
In exchange, George Davis IV was loaned to the Lions.
Los Angeles needed to get back on the winning track and who better to relieve the Blues of their losing ways than a couple of matches against Antigua Barracuda FC at the IMG Soccer Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
One player that has been a scoring machine for the struggling Blues has been Bryan Burke. On Thursday against Antigua, Burke recorded a brace en route to a 3-0 shutout of the Barracudas. Former San Diego Socker, Brian Farber, also scored for Los Angeles.
Antigua were reduced to 10 men in this match after Luke Blakely was given a red card in the second half.
On Sunday in Bradenton, Griffin showed the Blues why he is one of the top scorers in USL PRO, as he and Matt Fondy helped lead the Blues to a 2-0 shutout victory over Antigua Barracuda.
Granted, this was Antigua Barracuda that Los Angeles faced this year. Not exactly the best team in the league. But these two victories are sure to restore some confidence in the Blues camp.
Los Angeles will have a long break and will not return to action until July 27, when they travel to Sahlen's Stadium in Rochester, N.Y. to take on the Rochester Rhinos. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:35 p.m. PT/7:35 p.m. ET.
On July 28, the Blues face the Harrisburg City Islanders at the Skyline Sports Complex in Harrisburg, PA. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET. LA close out the month of July on the 31st with a match against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at Chartiers Valley High School in Bridgeville, PA. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET.