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Abolaji Scores Tying Goal Late in Debut in Front of Sell Out Crowd!

By Staff, 08/19/17, 2:30AM PDT


Orange County Soccer Club vs. Phoenix Rising FC
2017 USL Regular Season (Week Twenty-two)
OC Great Park, Irvine, CA
Friday, August 18– 6:00pm PST

Irvine, Calif. (August 18, 2017) In an entertaining affair at the Orange County Great Park Championship Soccer Stadium, in front of a sell out crowd of 4,963, both teams earned a point, although Orange County SC will feel like they deserved more. In what was largely an uneven contest, OCSC played the entirety of the second half with a man advantage. Phoenix’s AJ Gray was sent off towards the end of the second half for a late sliding tackle. They were able to dictate play into Phoenix Rising FC’s half and create a lot of traffic in front of goal. However, they could not break through the Phoenix defence until the dying seconds of regulation. The goal came from an unlikely source. Sola Abolaji scoring a well-placed header in his debut within minutes of being substituted onto the pitch. The defender filled in as a striker when Orange County SC were pushing late for an equalizer. OCSC were much more dangerous with the added forward and saw quite a few chances beg the question before Abolaji finally netted his opportunity.

The first half was in large part also dominated by Orange County SC while both teams were still at full strength. The Phoenix Rising FC goal came against the run of play. The OC defender played the ball back to keeper Charlie Lyon who thought he had more time on the ball than in actuality. His first touch was closed down quickly by striker Chris Cortez. He slid into the keeper and redirected the ball into the empty net. Again OCSC failed to score the first goal and were forced to play the game from behind. The fans were not deterred however, as the sell-out crowd continued to bring high energy for the entire game.

The best chance of the second half prior to the goal came in the 59th minute when striker Jerry Van Ewijk dribbled round the keeper but had a forest of Phoenix defenders to navigate through along the backline. His shot was on target but cleared off the line for a corner kick. Almost as a preamble to the goal there was a mad scramble in front of the Phoenix goal mouth off a corner. Multiple OCSC players had a chance to finish the play but all their efforts were thwarted. They managed to keep possession and on the ensuing cross Abolaji scored the equalizing goal.

Although Orange County SC earned a draw late, they were expecting more from the result entering the match. They drop points at home and remain out of a USL Western Conference playoff spot. Encouraging though was the amount of chances the offense was able to produce given the lack of production in recent weeks. Now OCSC we need to convert chances into goals and draws into wins. The next Match is Friday August 25th at the OC Great Park at 7:30pm against Oklahoma City Energy FC.


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:

Contact: Kelly Salmieri:  VP, Marketing & Community Relations,, 805.844.0856



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