Photo courtesy Liza Rosales / Orange County SC
IRVINE, Calif. – Orange County SC won its second consecutive contest in a 1-0 victory against Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 on Saturday evening at Orange County Great Park to move into the top eight in the USL Western Conference. Vancouver’s Deklan Wynne fizzed a shot just wide of the right post in the fifth minute from 20 yards as the visitors threatened early, but Orange County took the lead in the 10th minute as Victor Pineda knocked home the rebound after Salomon Wbias had his initial header saved. WFC2 threatened an equalizer in the 20th minute when OCSC goalkeeper Charlie Lyon made a good save to deny Cole Seiler after a free kick bounced around in the Orange County penalty area, and Lyon had to be sharp moments later to deny a flicked effort by Myer Bevan. Vancouver continued to carry the play, and Bevan almost found the equalizer four minutes before halftime with a shot that went just wide of the right post after a good move forward. WFC2 continued to press for an equalizer early in the second half as Marco Bustos curled a shot just off target. Orange County almost put the game away late as Pineda rounded Spencer Richey after a defensive giveaway, only for Francis de Vries to clear away from the open net, but WFC2 was unable to find a way through late on leaving Pineda’s early tally as the winner.
10’ – OC – Victor Pineda
Three Things That Matter:
1. For a second consecutive week, Orange County got an early goal on home turf, but Saturday evening’s contest provided a much sterner test as the hosts looked to continue its recent good run of results. OCSC had some chances to add to its lead, but ceded control of a good amount of the game to the visitors as WFC2’s passing and movement saw the visitors come close to an equalizer on a handful of occasions. Orange County will certainly be pleased to take three points, but will know it needs to be better when it heads to visit the LA Galaxy II on Wednesday night.
2. What has been a frustrating season so far for Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 continued Saturday night as the side wasn’t able to take advantage of its possession and its chances in a game the visitors certainly could have taken something from. Instead, WFC2 is now winless in its last eight games as it sits eight points and five places of a berth in the playoff positions, and will need a turnaround quickly if it’s to have a chance to replicate its run to the Western Conference Final a season ago.
3. Orange County’s win moved the side into the top eight in the Western Conference for the first time since early in the season, but the side now has the chance to make a serious move with a string of games coming in the next three weeks that could dictate where Head Coach Logan Pause’s side ends the regular season. In addition to Wednesday’s clash with the Galaxy II, OCSC will take on fellow playoff contenders San Antonio FC, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, Tulsa Roughnecks FC, the Swope Park Rangers and OKC Energy FC between now and August 25, a tough gauntlet to run, but one that will be fascinating to follow.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Jeannot Esua, Orange County SC – Esua put in a strong shift defensively as Orange County held on for victory, recording three tackles and five interceptions in the contest as WFC2 pressed for an equalizer.
Orange County SC at LA Galaxy II – August 2, 10:30 p.m. ET, StubHub Center Track & Field Stadium
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 vs. Rio Grande Valley FC – August 2, 3 p.m. ET, Thunderbird Stadium