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Royal Victory: Orange County SC 5, Real Monarchs 2

OC battle back to post an impressive win over West contenders.

Duke came up with the game-winning goal.
Liza Rosales/Liza Rosales Photography

Orange County SC had to work for it, but in between good team goals, a golazo, and conceding multiple goals themselves, they came out on top, defeating Real Monarchs 5-2 at Orange County Great Park on Wednesday in a near top-of-the-table clash.

OCSC, sitting in first place, faced the third-place Monarchs looking to avenge a loss earlier this season, and while this game was far more open and freewheeling than the first affair, the mission was accomplished.

Orange County went into a hole early, as Kalen Ryden opened the scoring for the visitors just seven minutes in the game, heading in off a corner kick.

Aodhan Quinn equalized in the 36th minute, as Noah Powder pushed up on a counterattack, and sent a low cross that was tapped in by Quinn right in front of goal.

Then, Powder scored for the third straight game just two minutes later, with a wonderful lob chip over Monarchs goalkeeper Jake Leeker from at least 45 yards out to flip the result and give Orange County a 2-1 lead.

But the lead would not last, as Justin Portillo tied up the game for Real Monarchs in the 63rd minute. Five minutes later, Jose Hernandez almost retook the lead for the visitors, but his one-timer inside the box sailed over the goal.

But even though Real Monarchs put OCSC under a lot of pressure in the ensuing minutes, the hosts took the lead in the 77th minute, as substitute Koji Hashimoto sent a nice square ball into the box, and Christian Duke took the pass and scored it on his run.

A couple minutes later, Hashimoto drew a penalty, and Quinn converted the spot kick in the 80th minute to make it 4-2. Then Thomas Enevoldsen completed the rout, slotting in his own goal in the 88th minute to keep him in the Golden Boot race.

OC have the weekend off now, as they’ll hit the road to take on the carnival that is Las Vegas Lights FC in Las Vegas on Wednesday. Three games left in the regular season, and Orange County are in first place. Phoenix Rising could still surpass them, depending on their games in hand, but OCSC are in good shape at the very least and are doing their part to end the season atop the Western Conference. Let the good times roll.

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