The Orange County Blues are back in action on Saturday, as they host West leaders Seattle Sounders 2 in Irvine (7 pm PT). The Blues have had over a week off since their last game, a loss in the U.S. Open Cup, and they get back to league action to see if they can continue their strong form so far this year.
Of course, S2 beat the Blues the last time these two teams met, 2-1 in a comeback effort up in Washington. There's no question at this point that Sounders 2 are the best of the new MLS-owned teams in USL, and they should end up near the top of the standings come season's end. But Orange County didn't play them badly in the first meeting, and a penalty kick conceded made the difference in that game. Add to that Seattle's struggles on the road, where they are 1-3-1 (as opposed to a perfect 5-0-0 at home), and this is a good match-up that should still give the Blues reason for optimism, assuming they are playing well and focused, of course.
And it will be pretty interesting to see if Didier Crettenand will be available for this game. The Swiss midfielder came off early in OC's last win, against the Colorado Springs Switchbacks, and he missed the next league game, a loss against the Tulsa Roughnecks and then the USOC loss. It's no coincidence the Blues' midfield play has looked the most disjointed in his absence, so if he's fit against Seattle, that will boost the home side's chances tremendously.
If you missed it, be sure to check out the Three Questions feature on S2 with Dave Clark on Friday.
Tale of the Tape:
OC Blues: 15 points (5-3-0), 3rd place in Western Conference; Goal Difference: 7 (14/7); Last five matches: L-W-W-L-W
Seattle Sounders 2: 19 points (6-3-1), 1st place in Western Conference; Goal Difference: 7 (22/15); Last five matches: W-W-L-W-D
How to Watch: Game will be played at Anteater Stadium in Irvine, or you can watch on YouTube. The game starts at 7 pm PT, and here's the stream for your convenience, to watch live or on demand:
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