Orange County SC went down a man again this season, but they completed a USL Championship regular-season sweep over Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC on Thursday, defeating them 2-1 at Weidner Field in a 4th of July clash.
Both teams, entering the game on three-game losing streaks and sitting below the playoff line in the Western Conference, were desperate for a win, and it was the visiting side that got the win — their first on the road this season — and boosted their playoff hopes for 2019 in the process.
After a battling but ultimately futile opening half, Colorado Springs opened the scoring coming right out of halftime, as Rony Argueta had a quick strike to put the home side ahead. But Orange County had an immediate response, as Michael Seaton tied up the game in the 49th minute with a deft finish as he was colliding with goalkeeper Andre Rawls, who played for OCSC last season.
Then, Orange County took the lead in the 76th minute, as two substitutes combined for the go-ahead goal, Kevin Coleman setting up Giovanni Ramos Godoy with a low cross on a tap-in.
Orange County were in solid shape but they had an additional challenge in the 85th minute, as defender Walker Hume was shown a straight red card following an aerial challenge on Matt Hundley. Hume was escorted out of the stadium as the trainer attended to Hundley, who ultimately remained in the game and finished it out.
After that, it was a furious finish, as Switchbacks FC threw everything they could at Orange County’s goal and OCSC had to weather the storm. They did, with goalkeeper Patrick McLain coming up big in the 93rd minute, hitting a volleyball-style smack on a floating ball that was goal-bound to clear it out right after a shot clanged off the crossbar.
It was a good, gritty road win for a team that has been looking for those with more frequency this season. They’ll now get a bit of a break, as OCSC will be back in action a week from Saturday in Austin against expansion side Austin Bold FC, who they tied 2-2 in the teams’ first-ever meeting back on May 25.
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