Don’t hit the panic button just yet. While it’s concerning that the Orange County Blues have dropped their first two matches of the 2016 USL season, we shouldn’t rush to judgment based off of them. Yes, there are things that need to be addressed, but those are too easy to point out, and we bet the coaching staff and players have obsessed over them on the game film. These days, everyone is quick to criticize, and not enough people congratulate, or recognize the positives in situations. So, it's time to highlight some of the positives we’ve seen after the Blues’ first two matches.
The Blues’ Attack is Dangerous
Despite only one goal in the first two matches, and by defender Brenton Griffiths at that, Orange County’s attacking game will be fun to watch. Trevin Caesar constantly pressured the Saint Louis defense on Saturday, and earned a penalty in the second half. Combine him with surprise standout Akwafei Ajeakwa, Tyler Feeley, and Joe Baccielo, and opposing defenses will have their hands full all season. And that’s not even including Didier Crettenand and Pavle Popara, who are both constant threats that attack from midfield.
Team Chemistry Continues to Improve
The Blues were much more organized as a unit against Saint Louis FC on Saturday as compared to the first match versus Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2. Obviously, the more time a team spends playing with each other, and analyzing film together, the stronger unit they’ll be. As the season rolls on, a more consistent starting XI will shake out, and the chemistry will be hard to break. In 2015, despite departures and new additions, Orange County was a very organized and tight group throughout the season. Expect more of the same in 2016.
Ivan Mirkovic is a Huge Addition
Last Friday, the Blues announced that Ivan Mirkovic had transferred to the club from Sacramento Republic FC. Constantly a thorn in the side of Orange County during all the Blues-Republic matches dating back to 2014, Mirkovic brings added toughness and experience to the defensive midfield role. Judging by how hard Sacramento fans are taking this move, along with our friends at Indomitable City Soccer, this could be seen as one of the biggest transactions the club has made this season.
Orange County's next match puts them against their archrivals, LA Galaxy II, on Friday night. Kickoff from StubHub Center is scheduled for 7:30PM.
What other positives can you take from the first two games? Let us know in the comments.