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Zzip, zzero, zzilch for Blitzz

Utah, Stanislaus net scoreless tie

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Blitzz 0, Cruisers 0

The Utah Blitzz treated their fans to a fireworks show after Saturday night's game. Too bad for those fans the actual pyrotechnics were the only fireworks.

The Blitzz played the Stanislaus United Cruisers to a 0-0 stalemate, a result that bumped Utah out first place in the Western Division.

"We could've played that game for a month and no one would've scored," said Blitzz coach Chris Agnello. "Some days you come out and your players don't produce for you. That's the way it goes sometimes."

Tucson defeated San Gabriel 3-2 on Friday night, receiving four points for the win and a bonus point for scoring three goals, bumping its total to 38. Utah only received one point for the draw, improving its total to 35 points.

Despite falling into second, Agnello isn't too disappointed.

"If we continue to play well during this homestand, we'll achieve our ultimate goal which is to make the playoffs," said Agnello.

Blitzz midfielder Shawn Cassella was inches away from tallying a difference goal seven minutes into the first overtime. Jorge Estrada, a second half substitute, made a beautiful run through the midfield to the top of the goal box, with a slew of Stanislaus defenders giving chase. Just as he reached the box he dropped the ball off to Henry Crompton, another second half sub, who was sprinting down the left side.

Crompton played a perfect overhead ball to Cassella, whose diving header from 12 yards out banged off the post. As Cassella clenched his fists in disgust, Stanislaus keeper Abel Vera smothered any possible rebound.

It was a frustrating near miss, but overall, Agnello can't be too disappointed.

"The good news is we didn't let them put any in," said Agnello.

Stanislaus' best opportunity in overtime came in the 17th minute as Fadi Afash's header went a few feet over the crossbar. Blitzz keeper Eric Landon was right on the ball had the shot been on target.

Landon, a product of Davis High School, earned his fourth shutout of the season. The only other time he was really forced to make a save came in the 47th minute as he punched a close-in shot by Afash over the crossbar.

Even though the game didn't have the benefit of any goal celebrations, it was a quality game in Agnello's eyes.

"I think the fans would agree that it was an entertaining game," he said.

It really shouldn't be that surprising that it was so low scoring. Utah plays with five defenders, as does Stanislaus. Even though such tactics create a lot of space in the midfield, once the attack reaches that wall of defenders the opportunity usually ceases. Utah only had five shots,, while Stanislaus had six.

Utah continued to play without midfielder Matt West, one of the team's key players. He'll be out for another four weeks, but as Agnello points out, "Just in time for the playoffs."

Of course that's assuming there's even a postseason berth in the expansion Blitzz's future.

Utah's next game will be on July 8 when it hosts the Chico Rooks, a team hot on Utah's heals for third place in Division 3.


E-mail: jedward@desnews.com