Men's Soccer: Lions missing home

LA MIRADA — Randy Dodge is still looking for a home away from home. It's safe to say the Vanguard University men's soccer coach can cross Biola University off the list of sites that are standing in for the Lions' on-campus facility, which is still awaiting completion of turf instillation.

Visiting Westmont thumped the Lions, 2-0, on Tuesday at Biola in the Golden State Athletic Conference opener for both schools.

It was the first "home" game on the schedule for Vanguard, which plays host to Hope International on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Santa Ana Community College. The Lions (4-3, 0-1 in conference) have only three regular-season home games scheduled for the renovated on-campus field, the first of which is Oct. 16 against The Master's College.

"It's awful," Dodge said of the lack of friendly confines, which is also problematic when it comes to practice.

"We have to train somewhere in the morning, and we have to train somewhere in the afternoons," Dodge said. "It's not fun."

But Dodge stopped short of blaming his team's lackluster performance on the location of the contest, choosing instead to credit the Warriors (5-2, 1-0), who hounded the Lions on defense and scored a pair of highlight-reel goals.

After a scoreless first half, in which each team had four shots and two saves, the Warriors assumed a lead in the 55th minute, when Rick McCarthy headed in a high cross from the left corner by Sean Siemens.

Westmont added on in the 71st minute when a Siemens corner kick ricocheted off a Westmont player camped at the far post back across the goal, where it was popped into the net by Patrick Wynne.

It could have been worse, had not Vanguard freshman Zac Way cleared a would-be goal with his left foot while standing just outside the goal line early in the second half.

"We weren't very good," said Dodge, whose team came in on a three-match winning streak, including a 3-0 trouncing of then-No. 1-ranked Mobile in Alabama on Sept. 14. Vanguard had outscored opponents, 8-1, during the winning streak, but found few quality chances, despite some nifty ball-handling in the offensive zone.

"It was just one of those days," Dodge said. "We didn't show up. [The Warriors] played great and scored two great goals. We just did not look good."

Dodge singled out strong performances from Nahum Paz, a freshman forward out of Estancia High, junior reserve midfielder/forward Luis Valdivia, and senior defender Andrew Sullivan.

"I just thought everyone else after that didn't do their jobs," Dodge said. "At the end of the day, if we're not doing our jobs, we don't have a chance."

Angel Maldonado, a sophomore forward who is a bounce-back from the University of New Hampshire, had three shots, two on goal, to pace the Lions' attackers.

Westmont posted a 12-9 advantage in shots while earning only its second shutout of the season.

It was the second time that Vanguard had been blanked in 2013.

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