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Gritting it out: Orange County Blues FC 1, Seattle Sounders 2 1

It wasn't pretty, but the Blues battled back for a point.

Used with permission of Orange County Blues Communications

The Orange County Blues FC hosted the Seattle Sounders 2 on Saturday in USL action, and the teams ended deadlocked at 1-1, OC's first draw of the 2015 season. It was a good result considering the circumstances for the Blues, who played poorly for most of the game, before evening up the score in an unusual play, and then held on for dear life after picking up a red card in the final quarter hour.

Darwin Jones gave the visitors the lead on an impressive individual effort in the 31st minute. Stripping the ball on a lazy pass by the Blues in midfield, Jones blazed downfield on his own, and with Blues goalkeeper Pepe Miranda having to come out early to try and test Jones' nerve, the Sounders Homegrown attacker easily dribbled past Miranda and slotted it in the open net.

The Blues slowly began to play their way into the game after the break. Fullback Josh Suggs cut inside in the box just before the hour mark, and his low shot was saved by S2 'keeper Charlie Lyon to keep the Blues off the board. Two minutes later, it looked like OC had their tally, but Seung-ju Kim's chance bounced off the crossbar.

Didier Crettenand, back in action after a back injury, evened the game in the 70th minute, as Lyon was called for a six-second offense with the ball. On the resulting indirect free kick, Luka Petricevic rolled the ball a foot or so, and Crettenand cracked it low inside the near post to beat the wall and Lyon to tie it up.

But six minutes later, Suggs got a straight red card for a stamp on Duncan McCormack, who looked understandably hurt on the play. Orange County tried to hold on for a result. A corner kick in the 86th minute by S2 was headed off the crossbar by Jones, fortunately for the hosts.

Three Stars:

1. Didier Crettenand: Who else? Without his timely intervention, once again, the Blues would never have sniffed a point in the game. Great to see the captain back in action.

2. Darwin Jones: Took care of business all by himself to give S2 the lead. Nearly regained the lead late, too, with his header off the bar.

3. Seung-ju Kim: Looks to be getting better and better every game for Orange County. As he continues to gel with Crettenand and Luka Petricevic, the Blues' midfield will truly be a force moving forward.

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