Orange County SC played their second game of the week and extended their unbeaten run to three games, after defeating Oakland Roots 1-0 at Championship Soccer Stadium on Saturday.
Ronaldo Damus scored his third goal of the season to win this game, and Abraham Romero made his debut for the club and had plenty of work to do to post the clean sheet against a game Oakland attack.
Braeden Cloutier did plenty of rotation for this game to keep his players fresh for another big Pacific Division game.
The teams were pretty cagey in the opening minutes, with Brent Richards and then Avionne Flanagan testing Oakland GK Luis Barraza in the 14th minute, but the visiting ‘keeper was up to the test.
Romero was pushed into action in the 20th minute, as he made the hockey save on Chuy Enriquez’s attempt, but kept Oakland off the board in the process. He had another big stop in the 24th minute, as Roots started to push and get a grasp on the game as they looked for the opening goal.
Oakland had another great chance in the 41st minute, with Rhys Breen forced into action, the defender blocking the goalbound shot on the line. Two minutes later, the opposite happened, with Tarek Morad saving Damus’ shot on the line at the other end to keep OCSC off the board.
But Damus did score just before halftime, with Chris Wehan’s angled shot blocked, Damus following up to bury the rebound on the doorstep.
Braeden Cloutier made one change at halftime, bringing in Eero Markkanen for Breen, who appeared to be hobbled to close out the 1st half.
Lindo Mfeka nearly scored in the 49th minute for Oakland, but Romero managed to corral the ball before it trickled over the line.
Tommy McCabe entered the game in the 52nd minute for Orange County, in place of Flanagan, who had a lively shift.
Orange County started to build up some possession in the final half hour, as they pushed to seek an insurance goal. But Oakland nearly found the equalizer in the 75th minute, as Akeem O’Connor-Ward’s knuckling cross was tipped just wide of the mark by Danny Flores.
Nathan Smith replaced Wehan in the 87th minute, with OCSC just trying to keep things tight and hold onto the shutout. Damus stepped up with several smart plays in the dying minutes to keep the ball out of Oakland’s possession.
I think this Orange County team is not going to be one that will score bucketloads of goals, but they are finding some success with taking a goal or two lead and just defending well to keep their opponents off the board or as close to it as possible. Three games unbeaten is good, as is taking four points in two games this week. They seem like they’re finding their form for this season.
Orange County will have a week off before they are scheduled to take on Las Vegas Lights FC in the desert next Saturday. Las Vegas started the season with four losses, but they’re unbeaten in their last two games, both in Vegas, so they may finding some form and prove to be a tougher test for OCSC than originally expected.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.