Orange County SC needed a win on Saturday against Las Vegas Lights FC if they wanted to boost their USL Championship playoffs hopes this season, and they got it, winning 3-0 at Orange County Great Park.
In a game where Orange County had to knock and knock and knock on the door until they found the breakthrough in the 68th minute, it was still a game dominated by the home side, as they posted a 12-4 advantage in shots.
Las Vegas featured an injury in the opening minutes, and OCSC nearly grabbed the advantage while temporarily up a man, but Darwin Jones’ shot on the counterattack bounced off the crossbar and was cleared by the visitors.
The go-ahead goal came courtesy of Jerry van Wolfgang, who has struggled for production this season but was at his best on the tally, taking a long switch down with a beautiful touch, dribbling for a moment before sending an outlet pass to Michael Seaton. Seaton returned the ball and Van Wolfgang hit a wicked curler that was unstoppable.
They doubled their lead in the 76th minute from Aodhan Quinn, who hit a sharp, low shot that beat Vegas’ goalkeeper at the near post on a one-hop, before Seaton snagged a goal of his own, attempting to set up Jones before the ball was deflected back at him, so he changed tack, dribbled into the box and coolly finished to make it 3-0 in the 86th minute.
Lights FC’s Junior Sandoval was then sent off for a second yellow card, fully sealing the three points for Orange County.
It was a must-win game and it was a vintage performance from Braeden Cloutier’s squad, with the key players raising their game to get the result. Jones and Seaton have finally found the chemistry to play together, and getting Quinn and Van Wolfgang back in the goals is big for the team’s prospects, while the defense held firm whistle to whistle and goalkeeper Aaron Cervantes’ learning curve just keeps going up as he’s growing into a full professional.
They’ve got another big game, next Saturday at home against Real Monarchs. 10 more games to get above the playoff line and see if they can make another run in the postseason. There’s work to be done, as they sit in 13th right now, two points below the line, but they’re keeping their prospects alive and that is what you want to see at this point.
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