Orange County SC had their chances on Wednesday night, but their 2017 U.S. Open Cup run is over, as they lost 3-1 to the LA Galaxy at StubHub Center Track & Field Stadium.
The game’s scoring opened in the 17th minute, as Jose Villarreal hit a bomb from well outside the box that beat Charlie Lyon. To be fair it was a complete golazo.
And the visitors’ response was positive, as they tied up the game off a corner kick, with Roy Meeus connecting on the set play and hitting a low shot through traffic to score his second goal of the tournament in the 26th minute.
But Jack McBean earned a penalty later on in the first half, and converted it himself to give LA the 2-1 lead in the 36th minute.
Even playing down a goal, Orange County had plenty of chances to score in the second half, with Galaxy goalkeeper Jon Kempin making several close-range saves, including one that bounced agonizingly off the post before it was cleared by a teammate.
Then, the Galaxy found an insurance goal in the 73rd minute, scoring off a corner kick themselves and converted by Ariel Lassiter. OCSC worked hard and kept pushing Kempin, but could not find another goal on the night and are now done with the Open Cup.
All things considered, this was basically a USL game with a couple of MLS players, most notably Jelle Van Damme, playing for the Galaxy. And while Orange County have shaken off some of their voodoo against LA Galaxy II in recent matches, the game felt like the old days, with the teams playing fairly back-and-forth soccer but Villarreal, McBean and Lassiter torching Orange County’s defense often enough to make the difference.
And in that light, this is a disappointing result, since OC really could have had the win if not for a few defensive lapses and Kempin’s heroics in the second half.
But in the grander scheme, it was officially an MLS team beating a USL team, and that’s not such a surprise. Orange County will rue what could have been, but they played a solid if frustrating game and ended up coming short. It happens, and now they’ll have to look ahead to next year to see if they can improve upon this unprecedented showing in the U.S. Open Cup.
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