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Fine First Impression: Orange County SC 4, LA Galaxy II 0

Team opens up new home, in a rivalry match, in style.

Alicia Rodriguez

It may have been an unseasonably cold, windy, and sometimes rainy May evening in Southern California, but the weather did nothing to dampen Orange County SC’s spirits on Saturday, as they opened their new home venue at Orange County Great Park with a 4-0 pasting of LA Galaxy II in the second edition of the 405 Derby.

OCSC started strong and put together by far their best performance of the season, while LA struggled to find any kind of rhythm. Throw in the mounting deficit as the first half wore on, and the game was a foregone conclusion in short order.

There were initially concerns that the night may not go according to plan, as Orange County forward Duke Lacroix was hurt about 15 minutes in, replaced by Wuilito Fernandes. Would the absence of the team’s leading scorer hurt their attack?

On the contrary. After Galaxy II midfielder Ryo Fujii was whistled for a handball in his box, Jerry van Ewijk stepped up and converted the spot kick, his second penalty goal this season, in the 28th minute. Things got even better just three minutes later, as LA goalkeeper Eric Lopez went well outside his box to deal with a ball and did not fully deal with it, with van Ewijk latching on to the loose ball and chipping Lopez with a perfectly weighted shot to double his tally, and Orange County’s lead.

The game was effectively wrapped up by the 34th minute, as LA defender Alex Suarez tried to beat Joe Franco’s run onto a cross and ended up turning the ball into the net for an own goal, making the game 3-0. It was the second straight game in which LA scored an own goal for Orange County.

While the second half was perhaps more even, there was never a doubt as to which team was in control, and Fernandes scored his first goal as a professional in the 59th minute, capping off a strong shift in which his hold-up play and physicality up top kept the attack flowing all night after he replaced Lacroix.

The 4-0 win is Orange County’s largest ever over LA Galaxy II, and their biggest win since their dramatic regular-season finale last season against Colorado Springs to book a place in the USL playoffs. The debut of the new field was certainly promising, and so was the performance by the home team.

Orange County won’t get a chance to get too comfortable in their new digs, however, as they will head east to take on the new-look Tulsa Roughnecks next Saturday. Will they keep the good times rolling? Stay tuned.

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