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Road weary: Tacoma Defiance 2, Orange County SC 1

Visitors take lead but can’t hold on.

Orange County v Phoenix Rising FC
Seaton scored but OCSC couldn’t keep a lead.
Photo by Joe Hicks/Getty Images

Orange County SC started their game against Tacoma Defiance on the right foot, but they couldn’t hang onto a lead at Cheney Stadium, as they lost 2-1 on Friday.

OCSC, playing an experienced lineup that was considerably more weathered all over the field (except in goal) than Tacoma, started in sparkling fashion, with Darwin Jones setting up Michael Seaton for a poacher’s finish in the 11th minute to give the road team the lead.

Orange County dominated the first 15 minutes or so, but Tacoma, using an academy-heavy side, gained control of the match and a familiar refrain for OC this season resumed, as they weren’t as crisp as they should have been, regardless of the opposition.

Tacoma tied up the match in the 43rd minute with a sharp effort by Shandon Hopeau, and the teams entered the break tied up. After halftime, Marlon Vargas got the winning goal as a scramble in the box led to a mishit by the Defiance player and Orange County goalkeeper Aaron Cervantes could not get a clean handle on the ball, as it trickled over the line.

The teams traded possession but Orange County could not get back the easy, relaxed domination they enjoyed in the opening minutes of the game, and brought on change-of-pace substitute Kevin Coleman just before the hour mark. Coleman did help OCSC create some more chances, but in spite of mounting pressure and a few close calls in the final minutes, Orange County could not get an equalizer and they walked away from the match empty-handed.

It’s a disappointing result, because although Orange County have won just one game on the road this season, they were facing the team at the bottom of the Western Conference and a team they beat 4-0 earlier this season. OCSC still have games left in the schedule and they remain within touching distance of the final playoff spot in the conference, but the bounces aren’t going their way and the team is struggling to put together consistent 90 minute performances together, and their playoff prospects are a worry.

But again, there are still games ahead. The next one is up next Saturday against Las Vegas Lights FC at Championship Soccer Stadium. Coming into the rest of this weekend’s action, Las Vegas are sitting level on points and one place in the standings ahead, so this is a big “six-pointer” for both sides. Should be a good one.

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