The season is here! The Orange County Blues open the 2016 USL regular season this evening against Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 (7 pm PT).
Since it's a new season, it's hard to really gauge where these teams are at this moment. As is common in USL generally, both teams have a lot of new faces, with the Blues adding a mix of experienced veterans and fresh-faced newcomers, while WFC2 have doubled down on youngsters, in the hope of further bridging the gap between their strong academy and deep MLS first team, and also brought in a few players, like forward Daniel Haber, on as a flyer to see if they could succeed at USL level before being offered a first-team contract.
The Blues have nine players returning this season, with seven of that group receiving significant minutes last year. There's bound to be an adjustment period for the new squad, but with another season with Oliver Wyss at the helm, that adjustment period should be smoother the second time around. There are obviously a lot of questions about the team ahead of the season, and ultimately we'll just need to see them play a few times before we can start reaching conclusions.
Tale of the Tape:
OC Blues: 0 points (first game of the season)
Whitecaps FC 2: 0 points (first game of the season)
How to Watch:
OC Blues vs. WFC2 will kick off at 7 pm PT Saturday at Anteater Stadium in Irvine.
If you can't make the game, here's the YouTube stream you can watch live or on demand:
What do you think? Leave a comment below!