Orange County SC meet the team that has probably become their biggest rival, in Phoenix Rising FC, with a clash on Saturday night at Orange County Great Park.
The teams, who famously met in the Western Conference Final in November, are in remarkably similar positions so far this season. Expected to be contenders, both are below the playoff line, albeit not by much, as they have failed to stack up wins in the earlygoing. Orange County have struggled for consistent results, while Phoenix have been draw happy and haven’t been able to do much else.
Still, these teams will likely be well up for this match. Even though they are both far down the standings, it’s still early enough and there are so many teams that a win will catapult one of the teams into a much better place. A draw? Points are better than losses, but neither team really seem to be in a spot where they can afford to pick up ties instead of wins.
With both coaches returning and many of the key players on each side, this is a rivalry match that may have some vinegar behind it. We’ll see if the teams can harness that energy, or if it will spill over into a too-fiery situation.
Tale of the Tape:
Orange County SC: 9 points (2-3-3), 14th place in Western Conference; Goal Difference: +1; Last five games: D-L-W-W-L
Phoenix Rising FC: 11 points (2-1-5), 11th place in Western Conference; Goal Difference: +5; Last five games: D-W-L-W-D
How to Watch Orange County SC vs. Phoenix Rising FC: The game is scheduled to kick off at 7 pm PT at Championship Soccer Stadium in Irvine. You can watch the stream only on ESPN+.
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