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Knockout punch: Sacramento Republic 2, Orange County SC 3

Orozco has the final word in thrilling win for OCSC.

Pumas UNAM v Tijuana - Torneo Apertura 2017 Liga MX Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Orange County SC played a topsy-turvy thriller against Sacramento Republic FC on Saturday, with Michael Orozco’s late winner the difference in a 3-2 OCSC win at Papa Murphy’s Park.

Both teams held the lead at points in the match, and while Orange County had to fight to get the win, they largely controlled the run of play and came away deserved winners.

But Sacramento got the goals started early, as former Orange County leading scorer Thomas Enevoldsen, now with Republic, set up Cameron Iwasa for the game’s first goal in the fourth minute. Coming off a road loss midweek, it looked like this could be a long night for Braeden Cloutier’s side.

But they stuck with the game and had an equalizer in the 16th minute, as Darwin Jones was Johnny on the spot to poke in a rebound off an Orange County corner.

The visitors took the lead in the 26th minute, when Vinicius hit a looping header after a ball was played into the mixer, and Orange County were firmly in control at that point.

Going into the break at 2-1, Orange County had to dig deep again, after Iwasa scored his second goal of the game just after the hour mark, to bring the teams level again. OCSC goalkeeper Frederik Due couldn’t make the save on the initial shot, and Iwasa came flying in to poke it home and tie the score.

It looked as though the game may end in a draw, but Orozco came up with the big play to win it in the 78th minute, with the ball falling to him on a corner kick in traffic and he made no mistake, slotting it home for Orange County.

The game ended with a cascade of yellow cards on all sides, but contrary to other games involving Orange County this season, nobody was sent off in stoppage time in this one, even with some bad blood between the teams.

The result is big for Orange County, who not only gave themselves a three-point lead over Sacramento in the standings, they’ve leapfrogged them in the standings to 5th place, helping their prospects of getting a bye in the first round. And there’s just one game left in the regular season, next Saturday at home against another playoff team, Fresno FC. If you want tickets to that final tune-up, be sure to hit up OCSC supporters group County Line Coalition.

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