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Bottom falling out: Orange County SC 1, Reno 1868 FC 3

OC starting to dig a hole they may not be able to get out of.

Chicago Fire v Colorado Rapids
Pause’s team mired in worst slump of season.
Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty Images

Orange County SC’s winless streak stretched to eight games on Saturday, as they were beaten 3-1 by Reno 1868 FC at Orange County Great Park.

Reno opened the scoring in the 13th minute, as defender Jimmy Ockford got enough on a shot in a scramble to beat Charlie Lyon. Once again, OC were playing down a goal at home.

The lead was extended in the 15th minute, as Oscar Sorto turned the ball into his own net off a sharp cross.

Down 2-0 to start the second half, Orange County tried to step up their intensity in the second 45, and had a few close calls and a couple penalty appeals that went begging, as well as a shot clanging off the crossbar, but they failed to really get back into the game.

Things went from bad to worse in the 56th minute, as defender Sola Abolaji was shown a straight red card for a trip on Antoine Hoppenot. While he clearly fouled him, it may have been a red for denial of an obvious goal-scoring opportunity, although that looked rather shaky as there was another OC defender in the vicinity. All in all, he looked like he was hard done by the ejection.

Chris Wehan made it 3-0 for Reno in the 67th minute, and the game was well and truly over by that point.

The primary consolation out of the match from the hosts’ point of view was that Monday Etim scored in second-half stoppage time, pouncing on a poor save attempt to strike from point-blank range, and then try and rally his teammates to grab another goal. Etim’s goal was also the 1,000th scored in USL this season, according to the league.

Carlos Alvarez started the match and hit the aforementioned shot off the crossbar, which would have been a golazo had it gone in, and Victor Pineda came off the bench in the second half in his first action since picking up an untimely injury. The returns of those key players has to be a positive as well, even if they didn’t lead to a result for Orange County.

But this latest loss, albeit against the hottest team in USL, leaves Orange County four points and two teams behind the last playoff spot in the Western Conference. Things are truly getting tight for OC right now, and if they don’t win soon, their hopes of keeping their postseason streak alive will be over. The good news, perhaps? Their next game, Wednesday, is on the road against Phoenix Rising FC, the team sitting in the final playoff spot at the moment. Six-pointer? Biggest game of the season, no doubt.

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