Despite taking a lead, the Orange County Blues suffered back-to-back losses at the hands of Sacramento Republic, falling 2-1 on Saturday night at Bonney Field.
The result was a disappointing one for what was largely a solid performance, with Didier Crettenand putting the visitors ahead before Republic rallied back in the second half.
The Blues took the lead at the very end of first half stoppage time, as Crettenand’s free kick squirted through the wall and curled inside the far post to put them up 1-0 going into the break.
But the hosts equalized just a few minutes into the second half, as Matt LaGrassa tapped in Danny Barrera’s low cross in the box.
The Blues, who had two shots bounce off the post in the first half, slowly ran out of gas as the game progressed, but their efforts were for naught as Sac Republic’s Harry Williams took a pass in the box in the 85th minute, calmly took a touch, then buried the shot past Blues ‘keeper Brandon Miller.
Adding to the hurt was an 87th red card for Blues forward Akwafei Ajeakwa for a wild challenge. On the bright side, it was in the dying minutes of the game and Sacramento didn’t score again, but on the downside, that was Ajeakwa’s third red card of the season, the most in USL.
The result leaves the Blues effectively tied for 8th place in the West, with that slot being the last to qualify for the USL playoffs. Three games left to go in Orange County’s season to solidify their playoff status, with the next one on the road against Real Monarchs on Friday. It’s going to be a big one.
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