Photo courtesy Liza Rosales / Orange County SC
IRVINE, Calif. – Orange County SC claimed its first victory at Champions Soccer Stadium on Saturday night with a 2-1 win against the Swope Park Rangers. Orange County went close to opening the scoring in the seventh minute as Irvin Parra headed wide of the left post from close range. Rodrigo Pacheco also forced a low save from Swope Park goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra in the 19th minute, but Orange County was awarded a penalty kick late in the first half that was converted by Jerry van Ewijk two minutes before halftime after he had been brought down in the penalty area. Swope Park had the majority of possession in the first half, but didn’t threaten offensively until the second half when it picked up an equalizer in the opening minute as Christian Duke’s chipped pass over the top found Kharlton Belmar for a breakaway chance the forward buried into the right corner. Cameron Iwasa went close to giving the Rangers the lead as his header went just over from Belmar’s cross from the left, but the hosts went back on top in the 65th minute as a curled cross from the left by Juan Pablo Ocegueda was nodded home into the right corner by Parra. The Rangers had a chance to level again with three minutes to go after Nansel Selbol was brought down in the penalty area, but Orange County goalkeeper Charlie Lyon made the save to deny Kevin Oliveira from the spot. Oliveira then hit the crossbar in the final minute from a free kick from 25 yards, but the visitors were unable to find an equalizer to spoil Orange County’s historic night.
43’ – OC – Jerry van Ewijk (penalty)
46’ – SPR – Kharlton Belmar (Christian Duke)
65’ – OC – Irvin Parra (Juan Pablo Ocegueda)
Three Things That Matter:
1. Orange County took its long-awaited first victory at Champions Soccer Stadium, and with it revived its postseason hopes as the club moved within a point of eighth-place Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC on Saturday night thanks to goalkeeper Charlie Lyon’s late penalty save. Lyon has been arguably the most consistent performer for OCSC this season, and with his late save preserving a win that seemed set to end even, Lyon cemented his status as one of the keys to Orange County’s late push for the postseason.
2. Swope Park had a major edge in possession throughout the first half, but was unable to produce a cutting edge against an Orange County side that was happy to sit back and absorb pressure. The Rangers’ two best scoring chances came when it caught out OCSC’s defense playing a high line, with Kharlton Belmar capitalizing inside a minute with the team’s first shot on goal of the night. The second chance came up empty, however, as the penalty kick earned by Nansel Selbol was saved by Orange County’s Charlie Lyon, leaving Swope Park with nothing to show from its performance.
3. Orange County hadn’t scored multiple goals in a game since a 4-0 victory against Rio Grande Valley FC on July 22, but the recent additions to the club’s attack seemed to be coming together in a positive manner after being held without a shot on goal in its visit to Phoenix Rising FC on Wednesday night. A first goal in OCSC colors for Irvin Parra came off a good cross from the left, and Orange County looked the more dangerous side particularly in the first half. With a first win since July in the bag, the opportunities for Head Coach Logan Pause’s side are wide open again.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Charlie Lyon, Orange County SC – Lyon’s late penalty kick save preserved a crucial victory for Orange County as it reentered the Western Conference playoff race.
Orange County SC vs. San Antonio FC – September 13, 10:30 p.m. ET, Champions Soccer Stadium
Swope Park Rangers vs. San Antonio FC – September 17, 5 p.m. ET, Children’s Mercy Victory Field