Orange County SC came from behind to end the 2017 USL season on a high, beating Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 4-3 on Friday at the University of British Columbia.
Kevin Jeon came off the bench and scored his first and only goal of the USL season, in the 85th minute, off an Irvin Parra feed, to put the visitors ahead for the first time on the night. Parra once again rose to the occasion for Orange County, as he also scored two goals to bring OC back into the game, and Zach Kobayashi continued his strong end to the season with a goal as well.
Despite all of that, for most of the night the game was firmly in Whitecaps FC 2’s control. Myer Bevan opened the scoring 15 minutes in, and while Parra notched his first goal a few minutes before to tie it up on a breakthrough from a tricky angle, David Norman added a goal just before halftime to give Vancouver a justly deserved lead.
Kadin Chung made it 3-1 just after the hour mark, but Kobayashi scored a minute later to narrow the lead once again. Parra then scored his second on a direct free kick to tie up the game in the 76th minute, and that set up Jeon to step up at the last moment to open his account.
Both teams had a number of near misses, too, with both connecting with the posts and Vancouver with a second-half shot that looked as good as in, even though it was an inch wide.
The good news is that Orange County end their 2017 season on a good note, with an entertaining win. From a neutral perspective, this team was in a lot of high-scoring games, and when you’re on the right side of that, it’s always fun.
The flipside is that the defensive frailties were kind of a microcosm for the season here for Orange County. No offense to Vancouver, who fought hard in what was a tough match for them, but an opponent that was not liable to collapse like they did probably would not have allowed OC all the way back into the game when it was 3-1.
And add a word for WFC2, who are rumored to be folding after this season. They may “only” be a reserve side for the Whitecaps’ MLS side, but it’s disappointing to see any pro team throw in the towel. As a fellow fan who’s experienced it, it’s never fun, and Whitecaps FC 2 have often been a decent side with several players who got experience at the USL level before moving to MLS.
That wraps up our game coverage for the 2017 season, but don’t worry: We’ll have a lot more content on the Orange County SC season that was. Thanks for following along with us this season.
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