Both teams gave it basically everything they had, but USL side Orange County SC beat UPSL team LA Wolves FC in the third round of the 2017 U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday. The cup run for Eric Wynalda’s team is over, as they could not beat the professional side, while Orange County now advance deeper in the Open Cup than they ever have in their history. This game was also a revenge match of sorts for Orange County, who lost in the Open Cup last year to the Wolves.
The game was effectively even throughout. Both teams had chances in the first half, and they went toe-to-toe, with the game being decided by mere inches.
Roy Meeus put Orange County ahead in the 42nd minute, as his free kick just outside the box deflected through the wall and went in the net.
The Wolves ripped a shot just after halftime that went off the post, and Wolves midfielder Lucas Scaglia was injured on the play, taken off for former OC Blues midfielder Pablo Cruz.
With the deficit, LA Wolves put considerable pressure on Orange County deep in the second half, with a handful of close calls that still did not tie up the score. Goalkeeper Charlie Lyon played a major goal in the game, making a slew of saves and keeping a cool head with chaos in the box around him at times.
Above all, this was a quality game for both sides, and one moment of brilliance by a veteran made the difference. The history books will look at this game as an obvious win, with a pro team beating an amateur side, but the Wolves were certainly playing at OCSC’s level, and many of the LA Wolves players could be turning out for the new Orange County NASL team next year.
So, the fourth round of the Open Cup awaits with a date against the LA Galaxy June 14 at the StubHub Center for Orange County SC. Could they go from having a rotten record in the Open Cup in recent years to making a deep run this year? Stay tuned.
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