Orange County SC won their first playoff game of 2021, and their sights are set on the next test, Saturday against Oakland Roots.
While OCSC played their previous opponent during the regular season, they do not have the same familiarity with Colorado Springs Switchbacks as they do with Oakland, who they played four times during the regular season.
The record in those four games? Orange County swept their NorCal opponent 4-0-0, believe it or not. While Oakland are technically a USL Championship expansion team this year, they’ve played for years previously and obviously, they’ve won a playoff game this season.
Here’s the quick rundown:
- June 12: OCSC 1-0 Oakland (Ronaldo Damus scored in the 45th minute)
- July 31: Oakland 0-3 OCSC (Kobi Henry 31’, Ronaldo Damus 36’, Aidan Apodaca 76’)
- Sept. 25: OCSC 2-1 Oakland (Michael Orozco 45+1’, Mikko Kuningas 90+1’)
- Oct. 16: Oakland 0-1 OCSC (Ben Mines 25’)
Four wins in a row? Looks good!
Still, while there may be reason to believe OCSC has what it takes to win a tight, playoff-like game against Oakland, there’s no direct correlation between what has happened in the past and what will happen in this game.
Second, it’s worth noting that Roots picked up red cards in two of these games. Both of the red cards put Oakland on 10 men for significant portions of those matches — these didn’t come in the 89th minute, in other words. While they could pick up another red card, playing shorthanded obviously changes the game state considerably. It’s not necessarily determinative — OCSC got a red card last week against Colorado Springs and still managed to win — but it clearly helped Orange County.
Finally, about that Orange County red card last week. Robbie Kiernan played in all four of the previous games against Oakland, but he’s suspended for this one. Missing an experienced center back? Seems risky, but it’s what OCSC need to deal with. Hopefully they can continue their dominance in the playoffs over this opponent. We’ll see what happens.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.