They had to wait two and a half weeks, but Orange County SC made it two wins in a row, after they defeated San Diego Loyal 2-0 in the teams’ first-ever meeting, in San Diego on Wednesday.
OCSC’s last two games were postponed due to coronavirus positive tests elsewhere around the league, but the time away didn’t seem to hurt too much as Braeden Cloutier’s side weathered a first half where they were second best, to come back and take advantage of two of their relatively few chances on the night.
Seth Casiple had a great breakthrough on the counterattack in the fifth minute, but his sharp shot at full speed clanged off the bottom of the post and bounded away to keep it scoreless.
Frederik Due — who had a monster game, with six saves and two punches — was pressed into action in the 14th minute, as a point-blank header from Tumi Moshobane was saved by the OCSC goalkeeper.
And from there, it was pretty much all San Diego for the rest of the first half, as they out-possessed Orange County 66 percent to 33 percent and out-shot them 10 to four. While OCSC’s defense held firm, they couldn’t really get a good enough hold on the ball to relieve pressure on their defense and put San Diego under more themselves.
After halftime, Due was busy from the restart, with a kick save just holding back Collin Martin’s chance in the 51st minute.
Orange County finally found the breakthrough in the 65th minute. Ugo Okoli got the ball on a counterattack, and with Chandler Hoffman in support making the run to give him a second option, Okoli opted to go it alone and hit paydirt with a cut back and score.
Former Orange County midfielder Charlie Adams had a good look after the 2nd-half hydration break, as his free kick in the 80th minute curled around the wall, but Due was up to the challenge and made a diving save to keep Adams off the board.
OCSC iced up the game in the 84th minute as Aodhan Quinn, playing in the stadium in his hometown where his dad coaches college soccer, stepped up to Edson Alvarado’s layoff at the edge of the box and slammed home the one-timer to make it 2-0.
All in all, it was a good performance for Orange County. While no doubt they would have liked Casiple’s chance to go in four minutes in and make the game overall much easier to work with, they can’t all be easy and having to deal with San Diego really taking the game to them for the first half was a good test that they came through. Major credit to Due for keeping Orange County in the game before they got on the board in the second half.
Orange County are unlikely to have long to wait for their next game, if all goes according to plan, as they are scheduled to host Las Vegas Lights on Saturday at Orange County Great Park. It will be the first meeting between the clubs this year, who have a new coach in Frank Yallop and who like OC, have barely played any games this season, so it’s hard to know what to expect from them. We’ll see.
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