Joe Amico scored his first professional goal, Harry Forrester scored another banger, and Orange County SC qualified for the USL Championship Playoffs for a second consecutive year, after beating 10-man OKC Energy FC 2-0 on Saturday at Orange County Great Park.
Orange County were missing the suspended Michael Orozco for the match, but welcomed back Forrester and Aodhan Quinn from their respective suspensions last week. The midfield duo’s contributions were welcomed on the night.
OCSC got some early looks but OKC held strong. The turning point came just before halftime, when OKC midfielder Kyle Hyland picked up his second yellow card of the night for a high elbow on an aerial challenge with Kevin Alston.
It took until the second half, but Orange County took advantage of the extra man as they fully took over the game. First, Forrester opened the scoring in the 53rd minute, taking an unorthodox dribble through the channel, through traffic, before smashing the ball with a flat finish with almost no backlift, a shot that seemed to defy physics. As just his second goal of the season, Forrester appears to only score incredible goals.
The insurance tally came in the 75th minute. Joe Amico, a substitute for Alston in the match, picked up a feed in the box and neatly tucked it away to beat Cody Laurendi. Not bad for a first pro goal.
All in all it was a good performance from OCSC, getting back into the win column after last week’s loss in Texas. And even better, the result plus results elsewhere officially clinched Orange County SC’s spot in the playoffs.
It’s impressive that Braeden Cloutier is not only two-for-two in reaching the postseason as Orange County head coach, but OCSC looked like they were practically dead a couple months ago, before rallying in impressive fashion and vaulting up the standings. And once they’re playing the playoff games, who knows how far they can go?
Before that, there’s three games left in the regular season, all against teams in the playoffs or likely there, with the next one against Real Monarchs on the road on Wednesday. Let the tune-ups begin!
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