The U.S. Open Cup has officially returned! Orange County SC kicked off in the second round of the tournament against NISA outfit Los Angeles Force on Tuesday. This is the first time the U.S. Open Cup has been played since the start of the COVID outbreak. The tournament was canceled last season due to a congested schedule caused by teams playing a more regionalized schedule because of health and safety concerns. With most of that now behind us, it is great to see the tournament return, and with it, the defending USL Championship title winners. In the end, Orange County defeated the Force 5-2 to advance in the competition.
It didn't take OCSC long to get going. Daniel Pedersen got on the end of a good pass into the box, putting on a great strike — that may have been deflected off the defender — to find the back of the net for the early lead in the 24th minute.
TAKE A LOOK AT THIS CRACKER!— Orange County SC (@orangecountysc) April 6, 2022
33' | Orange County 3-1 LA Force pic.twitter.com/wEUM7d1hTH
LA Force got a little too cute and tried to pass around the back, eventually leading to a keeper mistake for the second goal. Milan Iloski was right where he needed be, with a soft pass from the opposing goalkeeping turning out to be a perfect lob pass, and he headed it in to double the lead in the first half.
Just minutes later, the rout was on. Some clinical passing and a perfect build up finished with a tap-in from Sean “Ugo” Okoli to give the home side three goals in the first half. They came to play and were doing everything they wanted in the match. LA wasn't going to go into the half completely overwhelmed however, scoring one in the 36th minute courtesy of Samuel Goni to cut their deficit to two goals going into halftime.
After things got chippy between the two teams to start the second half, Mikko Kuningas got on the end of another ball in the box to answer the only way a team should, with goals. With a three goal lead in the second half, it was all about seeing the match out.
Kobi Henry added a fifth and final goal for OCSC in the second half, while the Force pulled another back late in the match from Clayton Torr, giving OCSC the big 5-2 win at home. They now turn their attention to the draw to see who they face next, but whoever it is will be in trouble. With the team playing like this, is there hope for a decent run ahead?
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