Orange County SC opened their new stadium in Irvine on Tuesday with a 0-0 draw against the Tulsa Roughnecks, the second draw in a row for the hosts. That gives them two games unbeaten but perhaps more importantly, they are now five games without a win in league play.
Truthfully, both teams had their moments but Tulsa edged the run of play overall, with more possession and way more shots than Orange County. Fortunately, OC’s defense was up for the test and held firm all night, with goalkeeper Charlie Lyon doing his part with four saves.
Richard Chaplow had a chance in the first half, with a stinging shot that was saved, but Orange County’s attack was lackluster and it was clear that the team was focusing on defense-first overall. Considering some of the losses in recent weeks, it’s not altogether surprising that Logan Pause would go back to basics and look to shore up the defense first, but the continued absences of Carlos Alvarez and Duke Lacroix due to injury look to be pushing the remaining attacking players to the brink.
So the game was historic but ultimately not a lot to write home about concerning the performance, other than a good defensive shift for the hosts. OC inch up the points tally with the draw, and sit one point behind 8th place OKC Energy, the final team in the playoff spots at the moment. Obviously drawing is better than losing, but again, OC’s margin of error in qualifying for the playoffs is getting smaller and smaller. They’ll need some wins in the coming weeks to actually get into the postseason spots, or else they will miss out this year.
The next game comes on Friday, as they host Phoenix Rising FC. Deep breath — here’s hoping OC will be ready to take three points from Drogba & Co. this time around.
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