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Orange County SC win important 6-pointer over Phoenix Rising FC

Playoff quest remains faintly alive.

Courtesy of Orange County SC

Orange County SC’s season has seen more disappointments than triumphs, but they saw a vintage performance on Friday, when they defeated rival Phoenix Rising FC 2-1 at Championship Soccer Stadium.

Milan Iloski, fresh off his USL Championship Player of the Month award, scored both goals for OCSC in the win, as his Golden Boot-leading goals tally is now up to 18 on the season to date.

Iloski’s opened the scoring in the 20th minute, with a wicked angled shot off a long feed from Seth Casiple.

But Phoenix almost immediately equalized, through JJ Williams, and the teams went into the break tied 1-1.

But OCSC had the winner just past the hour mark, once again from Iloski:

The win took Orange County SC off the bottom of the Western Conference, but the work ahead of them remains, as they sit in 12th place, seven points below the playoff line. This game was important, however, as they are directly competing with Phoenix for a playoff spot, and Orange County are only three points behind their rivals.

There are 10 games left in the season, and OCSC need to go on a real run of wins to have any hope of surpassing their opponents and get into the playoffs. That won’t be easy: Eight of their upcoming opponents are currently above the playoff line, across both conferences. Next up is another big home clash, against Las Vegas Lights FC on Wednesday.

But OCSC can’t dwell on the odds, and head coach Richard Chaplow emphasized the squad largely being healthy for the first time all year.

“It’s a long season and like I just said with without having a full strength roster, a lot of these guys have played a lot of a minutes, so they are battle hardened,” Chaplow said after the game. “A few of them have felt it last week such as Cubo and Milan both obviously missed out with a hamstring a little bit, so it is nice to have them both back tonight. Obviously Milan gets his goals and Cubo [Torres] was back out there doing his thing for us. So rest and recovery is always important, but we have to enjoy this one and look forward to Wednesday.”

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