The Orange County Blues dropped their second game of the season on Saturday, as two late goals from Vince Cicciarelli resulted in a 3-1 win for the visiting Saint Louis FC at Anteater Stadium.
OC took the lead in the game, as central defender Brenton Griffiths scored a header off Roy Meeus' free kick in the 24th minute, only for James Musa to tie the game up off a free kick himself eight minutes later.
Of possible concern moving forward was that Griffiths had to exit the game just before halftime with an apparent injury, with Ryan Felix taking his place.
In general, Orange County played much better in this game, with the attack in particular starting to find a rhythm. Trevin Caesar, Akwafei Ajeakwa and substitute Tyler Feeley all had moments of danger on the night, and Didier Crettenand once again came close to score a dramatic late goal himself, with his free kick in second-half stoppage time reaching the post and going out of bounds.
The Blues picked up a penalty in the 51st minute, as Caesar was clattered into inside the box, but Pavle Popara's subsequent PK attempt was tame and saved by Saint Louis goalkeeper Ryan Thompson. Although the scoreline didn't reflect it, that play was a major turning point for both sides in the game.
Thompson himself would have to come out of the game several minutes later with an injury, with Mark Pais replacing him, but the new 'keeper held firm.
And then the final minutes took a turn for the dramatic. Ciccarelli, a second half sub, scored his first professional goal on a kind of fluky chip that did just enough to beat Blues goalkeeper Brandon Miller in the 88th minute to make it 2-1. And while the Blues broadcast said seven minutes of second-half stoppage time definitely benefitted OC, Ciccarelli's second tally, in the 97th minute on a breakaway, made that point moot.
It's a tough result for OC, but they did play better, and will probably work more of the kinks out with another 90 minutes of this team playing a competitive match together. The schedule doesn't get any easier, however, as they head to Carson to take on local rivals LA Galaxy II on Friday night.
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