Gevorg Karapetyan opened his Blues account, and his mates had some chances, but ultimately Orange County fell 3-1 to Arizona United SC at Anteater Stadium on Sunday. The loss drops Oliver Wyss’ side to 8-10-4 on the season.
The game started slowly, and while Arizona came out the brighter of the two sides, the first chance fell to OC’s Didier Crettenand, whose 7th-minute free kick sailed wide. Arizona would gain chances of their own as the half wore on, but registered only a yellow card to midfielder Luke Rooney for their troubles before a goal was finally scored.
In the 28th, Mats Bjurman received a long kick from Brandon Miller near the byline and raced into the box before slotting a perfect low pass across the face of goal. Karapetyan settled quickly and shot past Arizona’s Carl Woszczynski for the 1-0 lead. It wouldn’t last long, however, as the visitors continued to pressure.
In the 42nd, Rooney played forward Long Tan into the Blues’ box where the Chinese veteran beat Miller one-on-one.
Trevin Caesar and Akwafei Ajeakwa injected some life for the Blues in the second half, and the match was more even as a result. Unfortunately for the home team though, Arizona took the lead in the 54th when former Blue Chris Cortez took a lovely free kick from 19 yards that beat Miller to his near post. Ever the class act, Cortez was loath to celebrate the strike in front of his old team and fans.
In the ensuing minutes, OC turned up the pressure and peppered the Arizona box with shot after shot. Arizona netminder Woszczynski and his crossbar were key in keeping the Blues out of the net during the exciting stretch.
Andrae Campbell provided a spark for OC throughout the match, and was especially effective running at the Arizona defense late in the match when the proverbial bus had been parked.
The game was put away by the visitors, however, when in the 86th, Cortez orchestrated a long counter-attack that concluded with his own shot being parried to the opportunistic Tyler Blackwood. The Englishman finished easily and the Blues would not respond.
With the loss, the Blues will settle for staying put in eighth in the USL Western Conference, just a point ahead of Arizona, who climb into a tie with Seattle for tenth.
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