The Orange County Blues arrested a potential losing streak on Saturday, as they tied Arizona United SC 1-1 at Anteater Stadium, but they will surely feel they should have won the game, between controlling the game throughout, hitting the woodwork multiple times, and having a goal called off.
The Blues completely controlled the run of play in the first half, and aside from a shot by midfielder Pavle Popara that bounced off the post and then off Arizona goalkeeper Carl Woszczynski, but rolled just wide of the goal inside the first 10 minutes, there was little to show for their efforts.
The second half was perhaps more balanced between the teams, but OC looked far more likely to notch a goal. But when Didier Crettenand's terrific strike bounced off the crossbar just before the hour mark, the bad luck got even worse, as Arizona United marched down to the other end of the field and midfielder Luke Rooney hit a 20-yard volley to beat Brandon Miller and take a surprise lead.
It seemed OC had found an answer almost immediately, as Trevin Caesar came off the bench just after AZ's goal and scored himself, but that was ultimately waved off because he handled the ball.
Joe Baccielo, who got the start up top for the Blues, tried to improvise while holding the ball in Arizona's box inside the final 20 minutes, but his shot from an impossible angle (literally taken from the endline) bounced off the post and the follow-up from a teammate was blasted well over the goal.
But Baccielo got the just rewards for a hard-working shift, scoring the equalizer in the 78th minute in a scramble off a corner kick.
Miller then preserved the tie in the 83rd minute, as he made a one-on-one stop on Tyler Blackwood's breakaway attempt. Baccielo had a chance to win the game in the 87th minute, but his shot...you guessed it, bounced off the crossbar.
Caesar had a late chance saved and then went down in the box, but did not get the referee's call in stoppage time.
Again, it was good for OC to battle back and get a point, and they played well pretty much everywhere but in shooting on target. But it's going to be the kind of game where they'll rue the near-misses, as this very seems like a game they ought to have won.
The Blues' next game is Wednesday in the U.S. Open Cup against the LA Wolves FC, who were restored to the competition after some controversy this week.
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