Orange County SC aim to continue their two-game unbeaten run with a new visitor to Orange County Great Park on Saturday evening, Phoenix Rising FC. Formerly Arizona United SC, like Orange County the club went through a rebrand in the offseason after an ownership change last year.
It’s the first meeting between the teams this season, and along with the new brands both sides are largely remade since their last meeting. Two players on last year’s Orange County Blues roster — Josh Cohen and A.J. Gray — and one from the previous season’s roster — Chris Cortez — play for Phoenix at present, with Cohen in particular impressing in Arizona at the moment.
But the headlines are being written about the team’s three international stars: Mexican forward Omar Bravo, English winger Shaun Wright-Phillips, and above all, forward Didier Drogba (who also happens to be a co-owner of the team). While none of the three is necessarily running away with USL MVP honors at the moment, they’ve all had game-changing moments for Phoenix to date.
And while Phoenix had some trouble getting traction on their campaign early in the season, they seem like they’re starting to figure out how to play together, which isn’t the greatest sign for OC. To be fair, at their best Orange County can go toe-to-toe with just about anybody in the league, but while the goals have been plentiful the past couple weeks, the goals conceded have been, too. And with three experienced, high-caliber attackers on the other side, not to mention the supporting pieces around them, it could be a tricky test for Orange County.
Two Orange County players are suspended for this game: Ami Pineda and Jerry van Ewijk have both been sanctioned by the league for their role in an on-field fight in last week’s draw against Portland.
Tale of the Tape:
Orange County SC: 14 points (4-4-2), 13th place in Western Conference; Goal Difference: -2; Last five games: D-W-L-L-L
Phoenix Rising FC: 18 points (5-5-3), 10th place in Western Conference; Goal Difference: -4; Last five games: D-D-D-W-L
How to Watch Orange County SC vs. Phoenix Rising: The game is scheduled to kick off at 5 pm PT at Orange County Great Park. You can watch it on the stream below or in USL’s matchcenter.
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