Orange County SC raced out to a 3-0 lead in their first USL regular season game, against Seattle Sounders 2 on Saturday, but survived a late scare to win 4-3 at Orange County Great Park in a wild and entertaining match.
Brian Nana-Sinkam was called for a penalty on Wuilito Fernandes in the 9th minute, and Roy Meeus converted the penalty to put Orange County SC ahead 1-0.
OCSC forced a second goal in the 18th minute, as Christian Koontz turned the ball in S2’s net to give the hosts a 2-0 lead off an Orange County set piece. Then, Carlos Alvarez got in on the act in the 24th minute, as he finished off a good team build-up with Alvarez taking a one-timer on an angle, putting Orange County up 3-0.
Following the break, Nana-Sinkam put S2 on the board to make it 3-1, and both teams had chances in the second half, and Seattle picked up a penalty of their own, converted by Zach Mathers in the 72nd minute to cut the deficit to one.
But Gustavo Villalobos came off the bench and scored in the 80th minute to restore a multi-goal deficit. And then Charles Renken scored for Seattle in the 87th minute to make it nervy again for OCSC in the final minutes, although they ultimately held on for the win.
It was a weird game. Frankly, Seattle did OC something of a favor, with a rather inexperienced team missing many of the regulars and a bench of only three players. And I think the opening penalty was very generous to Orange County, which helped them pour it on early and put Seattle in a big hole.
But it doesn’t matter how you come to the result, just that you get it, and Orange County got it. It snaps their three-game losing streak in USL play and puts their home record on the season to 2-1-0, while scoring four goals in each of those wins.
Orange County’s next test comes in a week’s time, also at home, against Portland Timbers 2. I think it’s clear that coming out of a long bye with a win is a great thing, but Logan Pause will have much to work on with this team before the next match, which for a coach is perhaps the best of both worlds.
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