Orange County SC went down twice on Saturday to Portland Timbers 2 at Orange County Great Park, but three goals from their goalscorers last week led to a gritty 3-3 draw.
Portland took the lead in the 31st minute, as Villyan Bijev scored on a flicked near-post header off a corner kick. It was T2’s first goal after going four games scoreless, and it put Orange County under pressure.
Orange County prevented a two-goal deficit in the 49th minute, as a wormburner by T2’s Kyle Bjornethun was cleared off the line by Oscar Sorto.
Carlos Alvarez scored his second goal in two weeks in the 57th minute to tie it up for OC, as his free kick inches outside the 18-yard box fit over the wall and nestled in after touching the near post.
Ami Pineda then drew a penalty in the 63rd minute, a clear call against Jacob Montes, and Roy Meeus buried it, for his second goal in as many games, to give the hosts the 2-1 lead.
But Timbers 2 came roaring back, as OC allowed a series of set plays that culminated in another goal off a corner kick, with Russell Cicerone turning it in right in front of goal to tie it up at 2-2.
T2 goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh made a crucial double save in the 79th minute, as he blocked Alvarez and Richard Chaplow’s efforts in quick succession.
Then it got worse for Orange County, as Salomon Wbias gave up a penalty in the final 10 minutes and Bijev scored his second goal of the game in the 85th minute to make it 3-2 for T2.
A brawl broke out in the dying minutes, with Jerry van Ewijk and Ami Pineda getting red cards alongside T2’s Lamar Batista. There’s probably a decent chance one or both could get additional disciplinary action from the league this week.
Remarkably, immediately following the red cards, Gustavo Villalobos scored his second goal in as many games off the free kick to make it 3-3 for OC in stoppage time.
So while dropping two points could prove costly come season’s end, clawing back to get a draw is a good accomplishment in the context of the game. This game will probably take some time to digest, but even though OC has shown they’re unable to defend well enough to really lock down a lead lately, they’re scoring pretty well and getting results, one way or another.
OC’s next chance to get points will come next Saturday at home against Phoenix Rising FC.
What do you think?