The LA Dragons headed south to San Diego for the first round of the 2018 SoCal Cup. Playing 18-a-side for the first time this season, the Dragons ended up with a solid result on the day, defeating the Orange County Bombers before falling to the hosting San Diego Lions.
The entire day was filled with scrappy, aggressive footy; in the first Dragons match, the defense showed much endeavor and determination while going blow for blow with the OC Bombers. The boys from LA were led by some tight midfield play, led by Joe Silvio and David Dollar, while utility players Simon Ansell and David Higgs also showed some moxie in their first action of the 2018 season.
The Dragons kept pace with the Bombers blow for blow, with goals by Aussie veterans Justin Hall and Paul Ioakim, as well as classy small forward Julian de Vizio. Rick Shaibani managed to turn up the defensie pressure from his forward pocket position, and rookie Max Melville showed promising flashes while manning the ruckman position all game.
The second half proved to be a nail-biter, with both teams trading goals before Ioakim sealed the deal with a beautiful late goal, securing a 4.8.32 to 4.4.28 win.
Aided by this momentum, the Dragons headed into the match against the Lions with confidence. Playing the majority of players in the same positions, LA continued their tackling pressure and crisp handballs. Despite a strong first half from the Lions, the Dragons stayed in the mix throughout the second period. Unfortunately, missed opportunities in front of goal cost them in the end, with the Lions securing an 13 point victory. San Diego 3.5.23 def Los Angeles 1.4.10.
The Dragons will have a bye week next Saturday before gearing up to face the cream of the crop at Western Regionals, to be held in Sacramento on July 28th (game times and opponents TBA).