The L.A. Blues finally found their way out of a funk Sunday, but, of course, not until they'd conceded an early lead. That surely would have cost them points the last few weeks, but not this time.
Cesar Rivera scored two more goals, the second on a penalty kick, and the Blues (6-4-5) won a USL Pro game for the first time since May, routing the league-worst Dayton Dutch Lions, 4-1, at Norco College.
It ended a six-game winless streak, all competitions, and tightened the race in the National Division, in which L.A. is seven points behind the Rochester Rhinos (9-6-3) and three behind the Harrisburg City Islanders (7-5-5). The Blues next weekend play at American Division power Richmond (10-5-3) and Harrisburg.
The Blues played at Norco, their new Inland Empire home, for the second time -- they beat Hollywood United in a U.S. Open Cup opener last month at the college -- and have to like it more than primary home Cal State Fullerton, where they are 0-4-1 in league and cup play.
Eric Kissinger gave Dayton (1-11-5) a 13th-minute lead, but Rivera answered before halftime with his team-best sixth and seventh goals of the season -- the first from a superb Israel Sesay cross, the second on a penalty kick after Dutch Lions goalkeeper Brian Visser was red-carded for taking down Peter Byers.
Mehrshad Momeni made it 3-1 in the 50th minute, and Gerardo Bravo added the finale in the 73rd. Dayton finished with nine men; defender Shane Smith was sent off with his second yellow card in the 69th.