Orange County SC moved back atop the USL Western Conference and continued their stellar form on the road this year, as a late goal from Noah Powder delivered all three points in a 1-0 win over Fresno FC at Chukchansi Park on Sunday.
Powder, playing an advanced role in the midfield, scored his second goal in as many games, and this time, bettered his dramatic equalizer from last week with his first game-winner for Orange County.
For much of the game, it appeared it may end a 0-0 stalemate, as Fresno, desperate to pick up points to stay alive in the playoff race in the West, struggled to be effective in attack, and OCSC looked to pick their spots. While Walker Hume had a header from a set piece clang off the crossbar around the 76th minute, OC really didn’t have any great scoring chances until Thomas Enevoldsen, who in addition to being the team’s leading scorer has also shown considerable skill in pulling strings in transition, fed Powder on a breakaway, and the teenager made no mistake in the 84th minute. It was Orange County’s only shot on target on the night.
The fact that OC continue to win in so many different ways — home, road, blowouts and late stunners — really makes this feel like a truly special season for Braeden Cloutier and his squad. Whether they can see this through into the playoffs is the big question, but they’re in good form right now, and there can be no complaints about that.
The next game is a big playoff preview test, as they’ll host fellow top seed contender Real Monarchs at Orange County Great Park on Wednesday evening. In the teams’ first meeting this year, in Utah, Real Monarchs won on a late counterattack, in what was a tense and well-played game. Can OCSC get the win this time and push away a top of the table rival with just a few games left in the season? We’ll find out soon.
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