The Orange County Blues seek to regain their standing in the USL playoff slots as they host new opponent Austin Aztex Saturday evening at Anteater Stadium (7 pm PT). The Aztex are not brand new to American soccer, of course, as they were the original home of what became Orlando City, and a reformed team played in the USL PDL the past couple years. But they are back in USL, and are trying to reach the postseason as well. Given their respective places in the standings, this is pretty much a must-win game for both teams.
Believe it or not, but the Blues are the hottest team in the West at the moment, a status that will be put to the test against the Aztex, who have been inconsistent but shown moments of promise this season. Led by former Chivas USA striker Kristopher Tyrpak, and USL veteran Sainey Touray, the Aztex are capable of going on a run if they can put the pieces together on both sides of the ball.
That said, the Blues have been in good form lately and should be favorites to take victory. There are two potentially mitigating factors in that, however: First, Orange County have played some opponents well and others poorly this season, and in meeting a new opponent it's unclear how they'll fare. And second, likely more consequential, OC will be missing three key players, goalkeeper Pepe Miranda, defender Brenton Griffiths, and striker Christofer Ramirez, due to suspension. Can Oliver Wyss' team overcome those absences to grab a key victory? We'll find out come game time!
Tale of the Tape:
OC Blues: 30 points (9-8-3), 7th place in Western Conference; Goal Difference: -3 (27/30); Last five matches: W-W-D-D-L
Austin Aztex: 24 points (7-10-3), 10th place in Western Conference; Goal Difference: -4 (22/26); Last five matches: L-W-W-L-L
How to Watch: OC Blues vs. Austin Aztex will kick off at 7 pm PT at Anteater Stadium in Irvine. If you can't make the game, you can also watch the match, live or on demand, on YouTube. Here's the stream for your convenience.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!