Orange County SC are on the precipice of their stated aim for the past decade, a league championship, and on Sunday, they’ll play for all the glory when they hit the road to take on the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the 2021 USL Championship Final.
It is their first road game of the playoffs this season for OCSC, so we’ll see if the new confines make a big difference for Richard Chaplow’s squad, which have been masters of doing what they need to each round to advance thus far. After a second straight penalty shootout win, Orange County will be taking on the Rowdies for the first time ever in the clubs’ history, so quite the occasion.
And it must be noted, Tampa Bay are coming off the best season in the league this year, winning the Shield and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs, and they are back in the title game after the last one, last year, was cancelled due to a COVID outbreak. So not only do they have plenty of motivation themselves, they are at home, enjoying home cooking and expecting to cap off their great season with a win over OC. But it’s up to Orange County to play the spoiler and grab the respect they think they deserve.
Orange County are pretty well fully healthy among their playoff core, with long-term absences Adam Jahn (ACL) and Eero Markkanen (leg) the only players listed out for the game. The only player listed on Tampa Bay’s injury report is goalkeeper Evan Louro, but the recently-crowned USL Championship Goalkeeper of the Year is listed as questionable and as long as nothing is broken and he can move, I fully expect him to play.
The games don’t get bigger than this. Here’s hoping Orange County SC enjoy the ride and take home a W to lift the trophy, one way or another. Let’s do this!
Tale of the Tape (regular season):
Orange County SC: 52 points (15-10-7), 2nd place in Pacific Division; Goal Difference: +7; Last five games: W-W-W-W-W
Tampa Bay Rowdies: 71 points (23-7-2), 1st place in Atlantic Division; Goal Difference: +32; Last five games: W-W-W-D-L
How to Watch Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Orange County SC: The game is scheduled to kick off at 5:30 pm PT at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Florida. You can watch this game on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, which you can watch on Fubo TV, throughout the United States.
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