Photo courtesy of Orange County Blues FC
IRVINE, Calif. – Orange County Blues FC needed several things to fall into place to clinch a spot in the 2016 USL Cup Playoffs. The Blues did their part on Saturday, and the outside results did as well following an action-packed 4-0 victory against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC. Heading into the weekend, San Antonio FC was in eighth and ended up falling 3-0 to Rio Grande Valley FC to open the door for the Portland Timbers 2 and Orange County, who were even in points. T2 earned a 3-2 victory against Arizona United SC, finishing the season with a minus-4 goal differential. The Blues entered the night with a minus-6 goal differential, and they put a major dent in that to win that tiebreaker against Portland with the 4-0 win. Trevin Caesar was the hero with two late goals. Didier Crettenand scored a first-half free kick from 25 yards out. Later in second-half stoppage time, with a 3-0 lead, Orr Barouch put the postseason destination in the books with his first tally. The Blues improved to 12-14-4 (40 points) overall and 7-6-2 at home. Playoff-bound Colorado Springs moves to 14-9-7 (49 points) overall and 4-7-4 on the road. The Switchbacks saw their three-game winning streak come to a close Saturday.
14’ – OC – Didier Crettenand
88’ – OC Trevin Caesar
90’+ – OC – Trevin Caesar (Richard Chaplow)
90’+ – OC – Orr Barouch
Three Things That Mattered:
1. Orange County enjoyed the start that it set out for, capitalizing on a free kick opportunity in the 14th minute. Trevin Caesar was strong in the early going and drew the foul outside the box. From 25 yards out, it was all Didier Crettenand as practically every Switchbacks player was set up on the wall. It didn’t matter as Crettenand fired a perfect shot into the upper left corner for a 1-0 lead and his ninth tally of the season. It stayed that way until the last minutes of the match, and Orange County was looking as though it wouldn’t make up the necessary goal differential against Portland. Then Caesar gave the club late life with a strong dribble and finish into the lower left corner in the 88th minute, followed by a stoppage-time header for a three-goal cushion. Orr Barouch would tally his first of the season after joining the club late in the year.
2. With goals becoming more of a premium, even the likes of Brenton Griffiths tried to make a few things happen for Orange County. In the 57th minute, the center back started a counter attack, and he kept getting the ball back from his teammates and continued his run. He received the ball in the 18-yard box, looking to shoot, and the Switchbacks alertly deflected Griffiths’ attempt for a corner kick.
3. The Switchbacks entered the night in first place, with a win clinching a No. 1 seed. However, Colorado Springs was unable to get much going on the offensive end outside of some good set piece chances in both halves. Nevertheless, Colorado Springs looks forward to its second consecutive postseason and will open the conference quarterfinal stage at Switchbacks Stadium.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:
Trevin Caesar, Orange County Blues FC – Caesar’s late tallies put the Blues into the USL Cup Playoffs, setting off celebrations at Anteater Stadium.
Orange County Blues FC: Western Conference Quarterfinals, at No. 1 Sacramento Republic FC - Saturday, Oct. 1, 10:30 p.m. ET – Bonney Field
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC: Western Conference Quarterfinals, vs. No. 6 Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 - Friday, Sept. 30, 9 p.m. ET – Switchbacks Stadium