Photo courtesy Liza Rosales / Orange County SC
IRVINE, Calif. – Orange County SC opened its new Champions Soccer Stadium with a 0-0 draw against Tulsa Roughnecks FC as the visitors created more chances, but were unable to find a way past OCSC goalkeeper Charlie Lyon. The Roughnecks went close in just the second minute as Joey Calistri pulled his shot wide of the right post. Nine minutes later Tulsa threatened again when Jorge Luis Corrales almost took advantage of a turnover, only to shoot wide of the left post. Orange County came into the game more as the half went on, however, and Richard Chaplow forced a good save by Roughnecks goalkeeper Fabian Cerda in the 17th minute. Zach Kobayashi also went close for the hosts five minutes before halftime as his curling shot toward the top-left corner just missed the target. Tulsa almost grabbed the lead in the 56th minute as a good cross by Joaquin Rivas was headed on goal by Calistri, only for OCSC goalkeeper Lyon made a good save by the right post, while Brian Wright almost capitalized on an intricate piece of play in the penalty area for the visitors, only to just miss his finish. Calistri’s deflected effort with 16 minutes to go also went just wide of the left post. Lyon then came to OCSC’s rescue with three outstanding saves off a pair of set pieces to keep the game scoreless. Orange County had the last chance in stoppage time to grab victory, but Roy Meeus sent his free kick over the crossbar as the game ended all square.
Three Things That Matter:
1. The Roughnecks were playing their third game in the past week, but with the energy and attacking tempo the side brought it would have been hard to pick out the players who have done the heavy lifting in putting the side strongly in playoff contention. Tulsa’s attack, led by Joey Calistri in the absence of Ian Svantesson – who came on as a substitute with 10 minutes to go – and Juan Pablo Caffa, was incisive and clever throughout the night, creating most of the game’s chances. Tulsa hoped Svantesson’s introduction would allow the side to knock the door down, but the visitors were forced to settle for a point in the end.
2. Orange County would have hoped to pick up a victory in its first outing at Champions Soccer Stadium, but in the end had to thank goalkeeper Charlie Lyon for an outstanding performance that kept the side in with a chance of taking anything from the contest. Lyon’s peak came with 13 minutes to go as he made outstanding saves to deny first Modou Jadama and then Bradley Bourgeois to send the ball away for another corner. That brought another chance as Jadama’s header pinballed off a pair of legs in the penalty area, only for Lyon’s reactions to keep it out of the net, and give his side a chance at a result.
3. The Roughnecks will have been disappointed not to make it three wins on the spin after their performance, but in the bigger picture Tuesday night brought another valuable point for the side as it looks to earn its first postseason berth in club history. For Orange County, though, the pressure to find a result on Friday night as Phoenix Rising FC visits is going to be firmly on. After having plenty of games in hand to make a playoff push, OCSC is winless in its last five outings, and still yet to get above the red line and into the top eight as it has failed to take advantage of opportunities to make up ground.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Charlie Lyon, Orange County SC – Lyon recorded four saves, and a catch and punch apiece, as the hosts held on to earn a point despite strong pressure throughout the second half.
Orange County SC vs. Phoenix Rising FC – August 18, 10:30 p.m. ET, Orange County Great Park
Tulsa Roughnecks FC at Saint Louis FC – August 23, 8:30 p.m. ET, Toyota Stadium – Saint Louis