Orange County started hot but were pegged back by Fresno FC, as the teams played to a 2-2 draw at Chukchansi Park in Fresno on Friday.
The draw is a better result after OCSC lost their last contest, also on the road, but after racing out to an two-goal lead inside of 15 minutes, they will likely be disappointed to have conceded two late to split the points.
Orange County got to work quickly, as Jerry van Wolfgang scored his first goal since his return to the club with a free kick along the far sideline that trickled through traffic and fooled CJ Cochran on its way into the net in just the third minute. It was a bit fortunate but maybe a balance for the fluke free kick conceded from distance last week.
The lead got better in the 12th minute, as Harry Forrester opened his USL Championship account with an unstoppable blast to make it 2-0 early on.
After the halftime break, Orange County goalkeeper Aaron Cervantes was pressed into service, as he blocked Christian Chaney’s attempt in the 50th minute, pushing it aside enough to prevent a rebound shot.
But after piling on the pressure, Fresno beat Cervantes in the 79th minute, as Chaney headed in Jackson’s cross back across the goalmouth on the doorstep to make it 2-1.
Then Fresno completes the comeback, as a handball on the edge of the box gave Juan Pablo Caffa a chance to work his magic, and the man who is perhaps the best dead-ball specialist in the league made no mistake, hitting the free kick goal in the 84th minute to tie it up.
In second-half stoppage time Seth Moses, a substitute, picked up his second yellow and was sent off. Orange County’s subsequent free kick hit the wall, so they couldn’t take full advantage.
The performance overall was a mixed bag for OC. They thoroughly outplayed Fresno in the first half, but the home side came back into the game after the break and earned their way to a result. It’s safe to say road play is tougher this season than it was last year, but picking up a draw away from home is still a decent result.
Orange County will be back in action next Saturday at home, and it will be a doozy, against Phoenix Rising FC.
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