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Skill check: Sacramento Republic 4, Orange County SC 0

Ochoa’s brace gave OCSC their first loss of 2017.

San Jose Earthquakes v Seattle Sounders FC
Ochoa continued his hot start with his new team.
Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Orange County SC lost their first game of 2017 on Saturday, as they fell 4-0 to Sacramento Republic in Sacramento.

Duke Lacroix looked like he would continue his fine start to the season in the first half, as he dribbled past four (yes, four) defenders and hit a shot in the box, but Sacramento goalkeeper Evan Newton got enough of a stop on it for the ball to trickle just wide of goal.

Sammy Ochoa tallied for Sacramento in the 23rd minute, as Orange County blocked two successive chances near the top of the box, but Ochoa made a trailing run and blasted the shot into the net to get his second goal of the season.

He followed that up with a literal tap-in from an inch in just before the hour mark off Wilson Kneeshaw’s chance that Orange County goalkeeper Charlie Lyon partially blocked, but not enough to prevent it from running across the goalmouth to a waiting Ochoa.

Kneeshaw then added another goal eight minutes later, hitting a one-timer on the half-volley from a diagonal pass from the endline that was an impressive shot from close range.

Second-half sub Harry Williams capped off Sacramento’s night with a stoppage-time goal on a broken OCSC play to make it 4-0.

The good news for Orange County is that they got off to a strong start in both halves, with clean, crisp passing that is something that should improve as the weeks go on.

But after about 10 minutes in each stanza, that calm, cool ball control fell away as Sacramento started stepping into passing lanes and put their authority on the match. While Orange County had the ball pressing into the final third on numerous occasions, they were mostly left to either try a tricky through ball that always failed, or sent crosses into the box that were too long.

At any rate, the game should be a good learning experience for OCSC. They weren’t abject, but they were outplayed by their opponent, and now they have a good sense of what they need to work on moving forward. A 4-0 loss is never a good thing, but they can assess what worked and what didn’t and work on those weaknesses moving forward.

In the meantime, that next game will be next Saturday in Portland against Portland Timbers 2, where they’ll try to get back to winning ways.

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