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Orange County SC take advantage of weekend off before two-game week

We speak exclusively to team ahead of Wednesday’s showdown.

Duke has been among the key players early in the season for OCSC.
Liza Rosales/Liza Rosales Photography

IRVINE, Calif. — Orange County SC sit in second place in the Western Conference and in the latest USL Power Rankings this week...and they didn’t even play over the weekend.

The team had the weekend off, their first bye of the 2018 USL regular season, but maintained their high position in the standings despite getting a break.

OCSC are off to a 4-1-1 record to start the season, and are currently on a four-game winning streak that is their best since 2015. Under first-year head coach Braeden Cloutier, a remade roster is getting the job done early in the campaign.

But does having a bye week mean the momentum of the past few weeks might dissipate for Orange County?

“You know, when you’re doing well you always want to keep playing, but I think it also gives us a chance to heal some of the little injuries, we have a few key players that have played a lot of minutes, and I think we have a few injuries that will hopefully get back by the next two games. So I think the break came at a perfect time,” said Orange County general manager and executive vice president Oliver Wyss to Angels on Parade on Friday afternoon at Championship Soccer Stadium.

Players who were asked about the break agreed that they were glad to have a slightly longer break than usual, especially with two games coming up this week, on Wednesday on the road against Rio Grande Valley FC and on Saturday at home against Colorado Springs Switchbacks.

“It’s a 10-day break that we have, so a little longer than normal, but we’re playing and getting ready for Wednesday and we’ve got another game Saturday,” said midfielder Christian Duke. “So I think it helped to sit back, rejuvenate and get fresh again, so we’re able to knock out the two games to come.”

Midfielder Ami Pineda, one of the very few holdovers from the 2017 Orange County roster, noted that having the time away from the field could help keep them motivated, rather than lose the momentum they’ve had in the opening weeks.

“I think this break is good, because the team will come back hungry for more. And even though we’re in [second] place right now, no one is settled, no one is happy with that, everybody wants more so I think this break is good because it makes us look forward to the next game and come out even stronger,” he said.

Orange County are back in action on Wednesday night against RGVFC. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 pm PT, and you can watch the game on ESPN+.

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