The Orange County Blues failed in their quest to break a club record in consecutive wins, as they lost 1-0 to the Austin Aztex on Saturday at the Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex in Austin. Kristopher Tyrpak grabbed the goal for the hosts, as they gained some revenge on the wild one-goal win the Blues grabbed at their home two weeks ago.
The Blues started the game well, forcing Austin goalkeeper Cody Laurendi into an early save off a free kick just minutes in, before a second free kick, by Pavle Popara, bounced off the post a little further into the first half. They seemed poised to take a quick lead and continue their strong form of late.
But credit to Austin, who played their way back into the game and eventually took over the run of play in the second half. While the teams took turns playing the ball, the Aztex had the better looks as the game wore on.
Tyrpak finally found the breakthrough in the 71st minute. After a scramble in the goalmouth, the Blues attempted to clear the ball, but the ball fell to Guaraci in the box, who sent a pass goalward and the former Chivas USA man buried the shot past Pepe Miranda.
OC turned up the pressure on the attack following the goal, and Oliver Wyss put in the likes of Denzel Slager and Tyler Feeley in the game's final minutes to try and grab at least one goal late.
It was a game that the Blues will feel they should have been a bit sharper with their finishing on the night, as they had some looks, but were unable to find the back of the net in the end. They'll have a week to get ready for the next game, at home against Portland Timbers 2 on Saturday.
The result means the Blues will remain in sixth place in Western Conference, pending the outcome of the Sacramento Republic-Real Monarchs game later Saturday. It seemed unlikely that they would win out the rest of the regular season, and this result does not kill their playoff hopes, but they can't make dropping points a habit in the final weeks of the season if they do want to reach the playoffs.
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