Orange County Soccer Club vs. Portland Timbers FC 2
2017 USL Regular Season (Week Fifteen)
Orange County Great Park, Irvine, CA
Saturday, July 1 – 5pm PST
Irvine, Calif. (July 1, 2017) Orange County SC looked to expand upon their previous home win in tonight’s match against Portland Timbers FC 2. In last weekend’s match it was an early offensive explosion that spurred the OC side to a win. However tonight with emotions running high, a few physical altercations and stellar set-piece goals stole the spotlight.
Although Orange County SC was able to control the better part of possession in the opening stages of the game, unlike the week prior however, they were not able to convert on their created chances. Some stout defending from the Timbers 2 backline coupled with the goal keeping play of Kendall McIntosh made for a formidable defence for OC to try and break down. It was Portland who struck first in the 31st minute of play. Tomas Granitto whipped in a corner to the near post and Villyan Bijev, running onto the service beating his OC defender, flashed his header past Charlie Lyon and into the net.
While the second half started in a similar fashion as the first, it did not take long for the game to spring into life. A foul right outside the Timbers 2 18 yard box led to Carlos Alvarez curling a free kick into the side netting. Evening out the scoring in the 57th minute. OC was mounting pressure and continuing to work the ball around in their opponent’s defensive third. The Timbers 2 could not withstand the building pressure and five minutes after the Alvarez free kick goal, OC was awarded a penalty. Ami Pineda bundled over in Portland’s penalty box. Roy Meeus stepped up and buried the spot kick to put OC up for the first time in the match.
The game settled down momentarily as both sides were pushing for more and in the 71st minute Timbers 2 pounced on an opportunity. After trying to defend a flurry of 3 straight corner kicks, Timbers 2 substitute Russell Cicerone buries his volley from the center of the six yard line, redirecting the knock down header on frame putting Portland back on level terms. Timbers 2 jumped back into the lead in the 84th again through Bijev who stepped up to the penalty spot when they were also awarded a penalty kick. Timbers 2 back in the lead in the seesaw contest with only minutes left to play.
There was still plenty of action left in the game. In an already testy contest, the game escalated to a climax in the 89th after a hard foul on OC forward Jerry Van Ewijk led to a full team fray. A few players took exception to the tackle and tempers on both sides boiled over. The referee deemed two OC players, Ami Pineda and Van Ewijk, were deserving of red cards for their involvement in the ensuing scuffle. Timbers 2 Lamar Batista was also sent off after just being subbed on to the field only moments prior.
When the teams’ tempers cooled down and play resumed, directly off the OC free kick at midfield, the ball was sent into the box towards the on-rushing Gustavo Villalobos. Villalobos held off the challenging Timbers 2 defender and skilfully placed the ball in the bottom corner from just inside the 18 yard box. Tying the score for the 9-man Orange County side in thrilling fashion in the 90th minute.
A heart-pounding game that saw 6 goals, 3 red cards, and 2 penalty kicks ends in a draw between the two sides. The lead changed multiple times and the crowd felt the contest could go either way right down until the final whistle. Another exhilarating game at the Orange County Great Park which produced multiple goals. OC now looks ahead to Phoenix Rising on July 8th in the last home game of 3 straight at the Orange County Great Park.
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 semifinals 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.
Kelly Salmieri: VP, Marketing & Community Relations, firstname.lastname@example.org, 805.844.0856