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Depth charge: Seattle Sounders 2 1, Orange County SC 2

Two first-half goals stand up in victory.

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-Orange County SC at LA Galaxy
Fernandes scored a goal and assist for OC.
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Orange County SC fielded a shortened bench, for their first road game in league play in nearly two months, and emerged victors on Sunday, defeating Seattle Sounders 2 at Starfire Stadium in Tukwila, Washington.

OC had 17 players available for the game, presumably having a short bench from injuries and suspensions. It seemed this game was likely going to be a grind, and so it proved, but a successful grind for Orange County.

The scoring started in the 16th minute, as Wuilito Fernandes finished a good Orange County buildup after receiving a pass in the box from Gustavo Villalobos to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.

Seattle tied up the game in the 30th minute, as David Olsen scored a header off a long throw-in.

But Orange County re-took the lead in the 37th minute, with Roy Meeus sending in a long pass that Fernandes headed back across the goalmouth, before Monday Etim tapped in the ball to score his first professional goal.

In the 69th minute, Charles Renken almost tied up the game on a breakaway for S2, but the ball bounced off the base of the post and flew into Charlie Lyon’s hands.

The win is impressive, not so much for the quality of play, which wasn’t the best Orange County has shown this season, but for the ability to play the two-way game needed to get a much-needed win. That the likes of Fernandes, Villalobos and now Etim are clicking in the attack is a good sign for the squad’s prospects, and the defense conceding just one goal for the second week in a row shows they might be settling down after a rocky stretch. On top of all that, Orange County move above Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 in the Western Conference standings into 12th place, four points out of a playoff spot with games still in hand on the rest of the conference.

OC’s next game comes on short rest, as they travel to Texas to play Rio Grande Valley FC on Wednesday. It’ll be the first of a quick home-and-away series against RGVFC in the next week, so we’ll see how the scheduling quirk works out for Logan Pause’s men.

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