Irvine, Calif. (September 3, 2017) It was a five minute span in the first half that effectively put the game out of reach for Orange County SC against Reno 1868 FC. Although there was still a lot of time left in the game, playing the remaining 75 minutes down two goals is no easy task. Especially against a team with the quality and form Reno 1868 is currently playing with.
Orange County SC started the game off brightly and created some promising chances early. However, they were either just short on connecting the final pass or could not direct their effort on target. The opening ten minutes was an optimistic glimpse of what could have been for the remainder of the game, but then Reno 1868 stuck swiftly and effectively twice to stifle the mounting OCSC momentum. The first goal came in the 13’ minute off a corner kick which Orange County SC failed to clear from their 18 yard box. Jimmy Ockford pounced on the loose ball and directed his shot on frame. Charlie Lyon got one hand on the shot but could not prevent it from trickling over the goal line. The second goal came less than three minutes later. Reno broke quickly on the counter attack and Chris Wehan made his run down the center of the pitch behind the OCSC backline. The low cross was played right into his path and all the midfielder had to do was redirect the effort toward the goal.
In less than five minutes Orange County SC saw themselves fall two goals behind their opponent, but they continued to fight and create chances for themselves. Had the home side been able to capitalize on some of the early opportunities, the game may have played out differently. Carlos Alvarez and new signing Irvin Parra looked the most likely to score from the OCSC attack. In the 25th minute Alvarez displayed some tidy juggling in the box but blasted his shot from close range over the bar. One minute later Parra saw his volley rattle the crossbar.
Things would become far more challenging for Orange County SC as they would have to play the remainder of the game with ten men. In the 56th minute defender Sola Abolaji tripped Antoine Hoppenot who was clear through on a breakaway leaving the referee no choice but to give him a red card and send him off the pitch. Containing Reno’s offense was initially a difficult task, but being down a man and having to push for multiple goals would be even more difficult. All match long Reno looked especially dangerous on the counter finding gaps between the OCSC midfielders and defensive line. In the 67’ minute Wehan added to the Reno 1868 lead getting his second goal on the night.
Orange County SC would get a goal back in stoppage time. The goal scored by Monday Etim was bittersweet in that it was the USL’s 1000th goal, but came merely as a consolation in the 3-1 defeat. The ten manned OCSC continued to display their never-quit attitude and through their efforts finally found the back of the net. Orange County SC’s next match is away against Phoenix Rising FC. Phoenix are unbeaten in their last five matches and have recently propelled themselves to a playoff spot.
ABOUT ORANGE COUNTY SOCCER CLUB:
The Orange County Soccer Club is Orange County’s Professional Soccer Team. The club was one of 12 founding members of the new United Soccer League (USL) in its inaugural 2011 season. The predecessor club Orange County Blues were the 2015 Western Conference Regular Season Champions and have reached the Western Conference Semi-finals of the USL Playoffs in back-to-back seasons. The club’s brand-new owner, James Keston, is the Chief Investment Officer of LARO Properties, and will actively oversee all operations of the USL club in Orange County. Keston is dedicated to transforming the club into a world-class professional soccer organization that focuses on the fans, players, and youth clubs of Orange County.
For more information about Orange County Soccer Club or to purchase tickets, visit: http://www.orangecountysoccer.com.
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