Orange County SC’s tenure in the 2018 U.S. Open Cup lasted one night, as they were knocked out in the second round by PDL side FC Golden State Force by a 4-2 scoreline at Championship Soccer Stadium at Orange County Great Park on Wednesday.
The game was tense throughout, and while Orange County controlled the run of play in the first half and can feel hard done by at least one non-call on the night, Golden State Force turned up the pressure in the second half and were good value for the ultimate outcome.
Orange County’s captain seemed to set the tone, as Christian Duke put the home side ahead in the 28th minute.
But two minutes later, Orange County conceded that lead, but in rather unfair fashion, as the Golden State Force player who set up the goal pushed over the OC defender with a blatant two-handed shove before the goal went in. That was about as obvious a foul as you’re likely to see, so it was shocking the referee didn’t bother to call it at all.
Thomas Enevoldsen wouldn’t say die, however, and in the 33rd minute he slotted home a go-ahead goal on the breakaway to make it 2-1, as he was being knocked over in the box, too.
Just before halftime, Nansel Selbol thought he had extended the lead for Orange County, but the goal was chalked off, apparently for a foul.
Just after the halftime break, FC Golden State Force earned a penalty, and converted it to tie up the game at 2-2.
Golden State Force then took the lead in the 67th minute through Samuel Goni, their first lead of the night, and put Orange County under considerable pressure for the final 20 minutes and change.
Golden State Force extended their lead in the 89th minute via Pedro Fonseca, effectively sealing their advancement to the third round of the tournament.
The result is a big boost for Golden State Force, who remain perfect on their season and are now two-for-two in this year’s Open Cup, and they get a measure of revenge on OC, who beat them in the 2017 Open Cup by a 5-2 scoreline. They’ll host either the Las Vegas Lights or FC Tucson in the third round.
Orange County, meanwhile, have to take a measured approach with this result. It’s always disappointing to lose a game, and while on paper a professional team should always be the favorite over a PDL side, anyone who’s watched Open Cup teams, especially those based in Southern California, are often up for an upset at the Division II level. OC didn’t play as well as they can, but they weren’t awful, and an inability to hold onto a lead cost them. All in all, it happens, and they’ll have to turn back to league play, when they’re back in action on May 26 when they host Fresno FC.
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