IRVINE, Calif. – A moment of misery for Saint Louis FC was cancelled out by a beautiful goal, which saw the visiting side record a 1-1 tie against Orange County SC from Champions Soccer Stadium at OC Great Park on Saturday night. Saint Louis looked better for a majority of the match, but defender Phanuel Kavita headed a free-kick attempt backwards and into his own net in the 78th minute, giving Orange County the advantage. However, Saint Louis responded quickly, as Lewis Hilton hit a sensational right-footed curler past Orange County goalkeeper Andre Rawls in the 84th minute. Before the late drama, Saint Louis looked more likely to score first, as it outshot Orange County 8-1 in the opening 45 minutes. Joey Calistri had the best opportunity to break the deadlock, hitting a low shot on frame after receiving a pass from Albert Dikwa, but Orange County netminder Andre Rawls prevented the chance in the 35th minute. Noah Powder came close to scoring on a couple of occasions in the second half, most notably hitting the crossbar with a long-range attempt in the 77th minute. With the result, Orange County moves to 5-3-2 this year, while Saint Louis is now 3-2-5 in 2018.
78’ – OC – Phanuel Kavita (Own Goal)
82’ – STL – Lewis Hilton (Kadeem Dacres)
Three Things That Matter:
1. Saint Louis secures its fifth tie of the 2018 USL campaign. A total of five teams have recorded at least five draws this year, including four teams from the Western Conference. All sides – Fresno FC, Rio Grande Valley FC, Tulsa Roughnecks FC, the New York Red Bulls II and Saint Louis – are on pace to break the single-season record (14), which was set a season ago by Ottawa Fury FC.
2. Orange County drops points for a third time in four games following a four-game win streak. After topping OKC Energy FC, Tulsa Roughnecks FC, LA Galaxy II and San Antonio FC from March 28 until April 14, Orange County has recorded a 1-2-1 record. While the team is still sitting pretty in the Western Conference playoff race, it will be looking for better results, especially at home.
3. Saint Louis captain Jonathan Barden and Head Coach Anthony Pulis were given marching orders in stoppage time. The defender was shown a red card for a hard challenge on Owusu-Ansah Kontor in the midfield during the 92nd minute, while Pulis was sent off by center official Adrian Gonzalez after arguing against the call made. The decision is an important one for Saint Louis, as Barden had played every minute of the season for the team until the red was shown.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Lewis Hilton, Saint Louis FC – The midfielder turned in a solid performance in the middle, scoring the equalizing goal late into the match. He completed 75.6 percent of his passes and recorded three tackles, three interceptions and one clearance to help his side secure a point on the road.
Orange County SC vs. Fresno FC – May 26, 10 p.m. ET, Champions Soccer Stadium at OC Great Park
Saint Louis FC at Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC – May 26, 8 p.m. ET, Weidner Field