Cesar Rivera's early goal was enough for the L.A. Blues to escape the Caribbean with a draw Saturday night, a 1-1 decision against River Plate Puerto Rico giving them a 3-0-1 mark -- and a substantial lead in the third-tier USL Pro's International Division -- following their first week of action.
Rivera scored in the 12th minute from a long pass by former Galaxy defender Mike Randolph, but Eloy Matos pulled River Plate, which has a minor link to the Buenos Aires club, even in the 58th.
Both teams finished with less than 10 men. Rivera was sent off in the second half for the Blues, and River Plate (0-0-2) lost Martin Morello and Yaniel Bermudez.
The Blues play their home opener next Sunday against division rival Antigua Barracuda -- one of the clubs they beat on their Caribbean trek -- at Cal State Fullerton's Titan Stadium. Kickoff is 5 p.m.