Orange County SC held an advantage for more than half of the game, but couldn’t capitalize on it, as they lost 1-0 to Phoenix Rising FC in Arizona on Friday.
Once again, OC struggled to keep pace with a team ahead of them in the standings. While Braeden Cloutier’s team was not without chances, especially in the closing minutes when they basically peppered the box with balls, they just didn’t have the sharpness to really take on Phoenix and find an equalizer or better after going behind.
Chris Cortez opened the scoring in the 13th minute, tallying against his old side with a far post half-volley off a feed from Kevon Lambert. Cortez subsequently had a golazo, but it was chalked off for offside.
In the 35th minute, Orange County got a lifeline, as Kody Wakasa was given a straight red card for taking down Michael Seaton on a breakaway in the box. OC were given a free kick just outside the box, but Aodhan Quinn’s effort was saved by Phoenix goalkeeper Carl Woszczynski.
In the 65th minute, Kevin Alston’s shot clanged off the crossbar, and then Seaton’s follow-up attempt went in, but was waived away for an offside call.
Deep in stoppage time, Andre Rawls, who had been hurt earlier in the game, made a save on the final kick of the game to keep it to 1-0, but the final whistle immediately blew after.
So, it was another game in which Orange County will have to enjoy the positives they can take from the game, but look at ways to really compete with the top sides in the west. They seem like a team that’s a safe bet to reach the playoffs this season at this point, but they’ll need to get over the hump to actually find how to beat the contenders.
Orange County have a quick turnaround, as their next game will be on Tuesday, also on the road, as they’ll face Colorado Springs Switchbacks. OC have beaten them once this year, so they’ll look to get the upper hand at altitude as well.
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