Ronaldo Damus extended his scoring run to five games, but Orange County SC couldn’t hold on for a win against LA Galaxy II on Wednesday, as the teams split the points following a 1-1 draw at Dignity Health Sports Park.
The scoring was done early in the game, and from there it became a slugfest, sometimes almost literally, as the teams stymied each other and chances went begging amid plenty of physical play. However, the result means Orange County’s unbeaten run extends to five games in league play.
Abraham Romero got the start in goal for Orange County after entering at halftime of the last game, while Kobi Henry got another start for Braeden Cloutier’s side.
Damus continued his scoring streak, tallying just four minutes in, after Avionne Flanagan’s whiff set the ball up for him perfectly, to give OCSC the lead.
But Galaxy II got the equalizer in the 10th minute, with Preston Judd getting a feed from Jorge Hernandez and putting a perfect curler past Romero.
Unfortunately Orange County defender Robbie Kiernan appeared to get injured around the half-hour mark, and he was replaced by Tommy McCabe.
Galaxy II nearly took the lead a few minutes before halftime, with Axel Picazo’s attempt sailing just over the mark. The teams went into the break tied 1-1, and while OCSC had more total shots, the statistics were pretty even otherwise between the teams.
Damus had another goal just after the hour mark for OCSC, but it was chalked off for an offside call by the Haitian.
A couple minutes later, Judd and Romero collided on an LA breakaway and a scuffle broke out. Honestly it looked pretty 50-50, but Romero was ok and Judd got the yellow card.
Flanagan exited the match in the 69th minute for Brian Iloski, while Cloutier made two changes in the 82nd minute, with Raymond Drai and Eero Markkanen replacing Mikko Kuningas and Chris Wehan.
Orange County thought they had a penalty in the 80th minute due to a handball by Galaxy II defender Jesus Vazquez, but there was no call on the play from the referee and play continued.
In the dying minutes both teams traded great half chances, but neither team had the late winner magic this time around. Iloski got a stoppage time yellow card that should have probably been a red for cleaning out the opponent, and Galaxy II players were upset by the rough challenge.
All in all, it was a performance that was both promising and frustrating for Orange County. They got pegged back in pretty short order and could never get another go-ahead goal, but it’s a rivalry match (in a sense) and it was played like one, honestly. I think in the course of a long season, games like this, on the road and on short rest will happen and teams just have to grind through it, and OCSC grinded for a draw. That’s pretty good.
Orange County will get just over a week off until their next game, when they’ll head to the Rockies to take on Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC next Thursday. These teams played at this same venue in preseason, so it’ll be a rather familiar occasion, but this time for real. Hadji Berry’s been on a tear for Colorado Springs, so OCSC will have to be ready on defense for this one.
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