Coming off its first competitive loss of the season, the Ventura County Fusion has no time to lick its wounds.
One day after being knocked out of the U.S. Open Cup with a 1-0 loss to the professional Los Angeles Blues, the Fusion left for the airport and its toughest road trip of the season.
The Fusion will play both of the Southwest Division's two Utah teams over the next three nights, visiting the BYU Cougars tonight in Provo, Utah and the Ogden Outlaws Saturday.
"Going as far as you can in the cup is one thing, but staying on top of the division is another top priority," said coach Ole Mikkelsen. "We'll get our focus back on the league."
The trip outside the state hasn't been easy for the Fusion, which has followed the same pattern over the past two years by dropping points in the first match only to recover by winning the second.
"It has been a mixed bag for us," said Mikkelsen of the trips to the Beehive State. "It tests the depth of the team every year."
Last year, the Fusion fell 2-1 to last place Ogden before responding with a 2-1 win at BYU behind goals by Sam Myerson and Jacob Hustedt. In 2009, it followed a 2-2 draw at BYU with a 3-1 win at Ogden.
"We occasionally play down to their level," said Mikkelsen. "Last year at Ogden, the team didn't play well at all. But they turned around and beat BYU the next match and went on a healthy run of wins to close out the season."
Trailing first-place Fresno (7-0-3) by two points, the Fusion (6-0-4) can't afford to drop any more points considering the Southwest Division includes two of the five unbeaten teams remaining in the 64-team Premier Development League.
Tonight's road match in Provo, Utah will be televised by BYUtv, which can be found on DirecTV channel 374, Dish Network channel 9403 and Verizon Fios channel 290.
The Fusion are used to being broadcast. Its home matches are presented on the Internet by http://www.HomeFieldSports.com (radio) and http://www.KADytv.com (video).