L.A. BLUES: Tigres transplant tops Kickers

Mexican midfielder Jonathan de Leon has been training with the L.A. Blues for a couple of weeks, waiting for his paperwork to be finalized so he can show what he can do in a real game.

He got his chance Friday night, and he can do plenty.

De Leon, 24, cleared to play earlier in the day, scored two first-half goals as the Blues started a brief East Coast trip with a 2-1 USL Pro victory over the Richmond Kickers in a game played in sizzling heat -- with an index of 110 degrees.

Cesar Rivera set up both Blues goals, sending a through ball for De Leon in the fifth minute and feeding the UANL Tigres product to dribble through Richmond's defense to make it 2-0 in the 44th.

Mexican goalkeeper Oscar Dautt made several big saves -- two each on Luke Vercollone and Matthew Delicate -- and was beaten only by Sascha Gorres' 69th-minute penalty kick after Nelson Akwari fouled Vercollone.

The Blues (7-4-5) kept pace with National Division leader Rochester (10-6-3), a 3-0 winner Friday over Pittsburgh, and second-place Harrisburg (8-5-5), which Wednesday routed FC New York, 5-1. L.A. visits Harrisburg on Saturday night. Richmond (10-6-3) has lost three of its last four home games.

L.A. was without forward Chukwudi Chijindu, who is on loan from Chivas USA. Chijindu has a high ankle sprain, but coach Charlie Naimo said it was possible he might play Saturday.