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Ride the lightning: New Mexico United 0, Orange County SC 2

Club boosts playoff hopes with third straight win.

Courtesy of Orange County SC.

Frederik Due had a stellar debut for Orange County SC, the team contended with two weather delays, but came away from their road game against New Mexico United 2-0 winners on Sunday.

Due, recently signed to provide experience and cover for young goalkeeper Aaron Cervantes, made seven saves to pick up a shutout in his first appearance for the club, while two second-half goals were the difference on the day.

The teams traded chances early, but the game had a bit of a listless feel in the opening half, under the afternoon sunshine. OCSC nearly got an early strike off a corner kick, but Michael Seaton’s chance sailed wide.

With the game deadlocked at the halftime break, the teams had to wait to resume play, as a lightning delay was called.

Orange County did their damage when the game resumed, with two goals in the opening 11 minutes of the second half. First, Jerry van Wolfgang opened the scoring with a play that’s becoming a trademark for Orange County SC this season, a give-and-go on a run up the channel, connecting with Darwin Jones before slotting the shot home in the 52nd minute.

Then, in the 56th minute, they doubled their advantage, with Harry Forrester absolutely posterizing a New Mexico defender, turning him into a statue before sending a nutmeg assist to Michael Seaton, making a run to go, who finished the shot.

From there, it was back to a lightning delay for the teams, but when they got back to action again, Orange County maintained their advantage, with Due and the OCSC defense coming up clutch to maintain the shutout.

It was a good performance and showed the form Orange County have rounded into lately, in the homestretch of the regular season. Remarkably, it’s just their second win on the road this year, but it couldn’t have come at a better time, and against the team just above them in the standings coming in in New Mexico, too. It was a six-pointer, on the road, and OCSC were up to it.

They’re now up in 7th place in the Western Conference with eight games left in the regular season. They’re definitely not assured of a playoff berth but are doing work to get in that spot. Up next, another road game on a Sunday, this one against Portland Timbers 2. T2 are having a solid season, but they’re one point behind Orange County so they won’t have room for error, either, so it should be another good test for both sides.

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