Sometimes, it's just not your night.
The Orange County Blues FC opened their 2015 USL season slate against Arizona United SC at Anteater Stadium in Irvine on Saturday night, but couldn't get the result, as they fell 2-1. The visitors took the lead in the first half through goals from Dennis Chin and Robbie Derschang just two minutes apart, while former Chivas USA striker Chris Cortez started the comeback for the Blues, but they couldn't complete that, as Az United goalkeeper Carl Woszczynski made eight saves on the night to preserve the win.
There were certainly some contentious moments in the game. Following Cortez's tally in the 35th minute, Christopher Ramirez, a striker apparently on loan from Salvadoran club Atletico Marte to the Blues, was held back from running the ball back to the center circle by Arizona defender Tyler Ruthven. In response, Ramirez either sent an arm or a full-on punch to Ruthven's face, which was understandably controversial from United's perspective. However, the Blues dodged a bullet as the referee only opted to give Ramirez a yellow card.
Then, with seconds left in second half stoppage time, a shot into Arizona's box appeared to be handled by a United defender, but the Blues' appeals for a last-ditch PK fell on deaf ears.
The truth is that Orange County largely dominated play on the night, in both possession and shots, and both of Arizona's goals came against the run of play. In the end, a combination of finishing that may have been a bit off for Orange County and a monster night from Woszczynski prevented the Blues from getting any points, even though they deserved them.
Orange County's next league game will be Apr. 12 against Vancouver Whitecaps 2 at home. So they'll have more time to build team cohesion ahead of the next fixture, something that could really help Oliver Wyss' group.
1. Carl Woszczynski (Az United): Probably should be in the running for USL Player of the Week for his performance. Bailed his team out time and again on the way to eight saves.
2. Denzel Slager (OC Blues): The Dutch-Curaçaoan winger was dangerous all night on the flank and sent a few outstanding balls into the box that needed to be finished. Had one chance in the first half where he should have shot instead of laying the ball off, but a very promising start from Slager.
3. Didier Crettenand (OC Blues): The Blues are clearly still getting used to playing together, but Crettenand did well to patrol the middle of the park and play a two-way game. His quality showed throughout the game.
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