Orange County SC fell to Phoenix Rising FC 2-1 in the 2023 USL Championship Western Conference Semifinals on Saturday, October 28 at Championship Stadium in Irvine, CA. A late goal in the 116th minute by midfielder Emil Cuello gave Phoenix the edge in a back and forth contest.
The Black and Orange had the first opportunity of the match in the second minute as forward Thomas Amang won a free kick in the attacking half of the pitch. On the ensuing free kick, captain Markus Nakkim fired a powerful shot with his right foot that just missed wide ride of the goalpost.
Phoenix struck first in the seventh minute as midfielder Carlos Harvey played the ball over the top to forward Daniel Trejo. Trejo took a touch past OCSC goalkeeper Colin Shutler and finished the ball in the back of the net giving Phoenix a 1-0 lead.
The home team had another opportunity in the ninth minute as forward Milan Iloski found Amang on the right side of the box. Amang tapped the ball back to midfielder Kyle Scott, who’s shot sailed just over the crossbar.
Orange County SC found themselves with a dangerous chance again this time in the 16th minute as midfielder Seth Casiple found Milan just outside the left side of the box. Iloski took one touch and fired towards goal, but his shot rang off the crossbar before being headed back to the keeper away from danger.
In the 22nd minute OCSC had Phoenix on the ropes again. After a shot by Iloski was blocked, defender Ryan Doghman found Scott outside the box. Scott fired from 30 yards out and the shot was denied off a leaping save from Phoenix goalkeeper Rocco Rios Novo.
OCSC finally broke through in the 24th minute as midfielder Brian Iloski found Doghman on the left side of the pitch. Doghman played a cross in front of goal and connected with a streaking Amang who tapped it in with his right foot to even the count 1-1.
Orange County SC found themselves with a counterattack in the 32nd minute. Midfielder Seth Casiple found Milan in the attacking half of the field. Iloski cleared a defender and made an attempt at goal from just outside the box, missing just to the right.
Phoenix attempted to counter in the 35th minute as forward Dariusz Formella found midfielder Eddie Munjoma outside the box. Munjoma sent in a strike that was close, but just missed the left goalpost.
Orange County SC dominated Phoenix on the attacking side in the first half with 12 shots and three on target compared to two for the visitors and one on target.
The first chance of the second half came for the home team in the 72nd minute as substitute midfielder Kevin Lankford put together a run on the right side of the box. Lankford sent in a ball to Amang at the center of the box and Amang’s header at goal went right to Rios Novo.
Both teams went toe to toe until the end of regulation heading into extra time tied 1-1.
OCSC had an opportunity in the 92nd minute as defender Owen Lambe had a run on the right side of the pitch. Lambe played in a cross to Milan who fired with his right foot and missed just wide right.
The brotherly duo found themselves with a chance in the final minute of the first extra time period for Orange County SC. Brian Iloski found his brother Milan outside the right side of the box. Milan Iloski took a shot from a difficult angle on the right side that was saved by Rios Novo, sending both teams back on the pitch for the final 15 minutes still tied at 1.
In the 116th minute, substitute midfielder Erickson Gallardo made a move on the left side of the pitch. Creating space, he flicked the ball to substitute midfielder Emil Cuello, who fired one with his right foot just out of reach of Shutler, putting Phoenix ahead 2-1, a score that would stand for the rest of the game.
Orange County SC was able to turn their season around from 11th place to second place in the West, but unfortunately fell just short of the ultimate comeback. Thank you for all your support this season fans, we will see you in 2024!
MILESTONES AND FACTS:
Forward Thomas Amang scored his first USL Championship playoff goal tonight, his 9th goal of the season.
For the seventh consecutive Saturday, OCSC played in front of a sellout crowd of 5,500 at The Champ.
|TEAM||FIRST HALF||SECOND HALF||FIRST HALF ET||SECOND HALF ET||FINAL|
9’ Daniel Trejo (PHX)
24’ Thomas Amang (OCSC)
116’ Emil Cuello (PHX)
ORANGE COUNTY SC
51’ Kyle Scott
PHOENIX RISING FC
104’ Alejandro Fuenmayor
106’ Henry Uzochukwu
ORANGE COUNTY SC LINEUP:
Colin Shutler (GK); Ryan Doghman (Alex Villanueva 117’), Markus Nakkim (C), Dillon Powers, Owen Lambe (Brent Richards 117’); Kevin Partida (Andrew Fox 90’ +3), Seth Casiple (Bryce Jamison 105’), Kyle Scott (Kevin Lankford 63’), Brian Iloski; Thomas Amang (Marc McNulty 90’), Milan Iloski
Unused subs: Eric Lopez (GK)
Head Coach: Morten Karlsen
Possession: 41% | Shots: 17 | Shots On Goal: 3 | Corners: 2 | Fouls: 12 | Offsides: 1 |
PHOENIX RISING FC:
Rocco Rios Novo (GK); John Stenberg, Mohammed Traore, Alejandro Fuenmayor; Darnell King (C) (Henry Uzochukwu 71’), Jose Hernandez (Renzo Zambrano 90’+3), Carlos Harvey (Emil Cuello 105’), Edwin Munjoma (Erickson Gallardo 90’), Panos Armenakas (Manuel Arteaga 101’); Daniel Trejo (Daniel Krutzen 117’), Dariusz Formella
Unused subs: Patrick Rakovsky (GK)
Head Coach: Juan Guerra
Possession: 59% | Shots: 9 | Shots On Goal: 4 | Corners: 3 | Fouls: 14 | Offsides: 2 |
Orange County SC vs. Phoenix Rising FC
2023 USL Championship Playoffs | Western Conference Semifinals
Date: October 28, 2023
Venue: Championship Stadium (Irvine, CA)
Weather: Great season OC!