The big day is here: The Orange County Blues are in the 2016 USL Cup Playoffs, and looking for a win.
They are playing the top seed in the Western Conference, Sacramento Republic, up in Sacramento, on Saturday evening (7:30 pm PT), and will be underdogs, to be sure. But after scrapping their way to a playoff berth, the next quest is to make some Blues club history in the postseason and win their first-ever playoff game.
The Blues are coming off their best result of the year, a 4-0 win over Colorado Springs Switchbacks that helped propel them into the playoffs. They also know that as the underdog, the pressure isn’t really on them, and that could help them relax for the key 90 minutes of the season.
On the other hand, Sac Republic have turned into a well-oiled machine, not only grabbing the best record in the conference but also currently on an 11-game unbeaten streak, a run that includes two late-season wins against the Blues. Their climb up the table is no fluke.
Although it may not mean much on the game once the teams hit the field, the results in the other games last night showed the lower seed can beat the higher seeded opponent, as #6 Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 knocked off #3 Colorado Springs in Colorado. So it could happen if the Blues play a good game.
And the winner of this game will not face a local rival, as Swope Park Rangers beat LA Galaxy II in Kansas City last night. As a result, if the Blues win, they would travel to play SPR in the next round, while a Sacramento win would bring Swope Park out west to Bonney Field.
At any rate, it will be a fascinating game on a number of levels. This is the first playoff meeting between Orange County and Sac Republic, and their games already tend to be very chippy affairs. Will the intensity ratchet up even more tonight? Be sure to tune in.
Tale of the Tape:
OC Blues: 40 points (12-14-4), 8th place in Western Conference; Goal Difference: -2 (39/41); Last five games: W-L-W-L-L
Sacramento Republic FC: 52 points (14-6-10), 1st place in Western Conference; Goal Difference: 16 (43/27); Last five games: W-D-D-W-D
How to watch Sacramento Republic vs. OC Blues: The game is scheduled to kick off at 7:30 pm PT on Saturday at Bonney Field in Sacramento. You can watch the stream of the game below or in USL’s matchcenter.
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