Photo courtesy Bob Frid / Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2
VANCOUVER, B.C. – Orange County SC’s Jerry van Ewijk scored in the 83rd minute to earn a 2-1 victory against Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 on Sunday evening at Thunderbird Stadium to keep OCSC in contention for the Western Conference playoff positions. WFC2 created the first good chance of the game in the 12th minute as Marco Bustos’ angled cross from the left found Myer Bevan, but the New Zealand international couldn’t get enough purchase on his header to beat OCSC goalkeeper Casey Beyers. Orange County also threatened as Zach Kobayashi made a strong solo run and shot that was saved by Vancouver goalkeeper Spencer Richey, but WFC2 went close to taking the lead in the 36th minute when Chris Serban hit the right post after a good spell of pressure. Kobayashi struck five minutes before the halftime break, however, as a good pass by Irvin Parra released him into the left side of the penalty area to finish to the opposite corner. Vancouver hit back 10 minutes into the second half as Marco Bustos swept home his eighth goal of the season off a low cross by Terran Campbell, and the hosts almost took the lead in the 62nd minute when Francis DeVries’ effort was headed off the line by OCSC’s Joe Franco by the left post. Bustos went close to a second as he had a shot deflected wide with 17 minutes to go, while Irvin Parra blazed over from inside the penalty area for Orange County a few minutes later. Parra played set-up man for Van Ewijk with seven minutes to go, however, as the Dutch midfielder lashed his finish into the roof of the net from 16 yards. Vancouver pressed for a late equalizer, and OCSC almost caught WFC2 out on the counterattack in stoppage time as Carlos Alvarez’s shot was saved by Richey, but the visitors didn’t need an insurance goal as it held on for a massive victory.
40’ – OC – Zach Kobayashi (Irvin Parra)
55’ – VAN – Marco Bustos (Terran Campbell)
83’ – OC – Jerry van Ewijk (Irvin Parra)
Three Things That Matter:
1. Jerry van Ewijk has been arguably Orange County’s most consistent outfield player this season, and his late game-winner against Vancouver on Sunday night threw a lifeline to the club’s playoff hopes as it kicked off a crucial road trip with a victory. Facing a side sitting second-from-last in the Western Conference, Orange County wasn’t particularly sharp for much of the second half as WFC2 evened up Zach Kobayashi’s opening goal late in the first half, but a strong late surge by the visitors resulted in the biggest goal of their season so far.
2. WFC2 drove much of the action in the second half, and it came as no surprise when Marco Bustos popped up to bag his eighth goal of the season 10 minutes into the second half. The young Canadian playmaker has led Vancouver in goals this season, and on Sunday night reached a new single-season high after scoring seven goals in each of the past two seasons for WFC2. Already capped for Canada, Bustos is among the top young players in Canada looking to break through, and he continued to impress against Orange County.
3. With OKC Energy FC’s victory earlier in the evening, a win to match them by Orange County was essential as the side gets ready to visit Western Conference-leader Real Monarchs SLC next Friday night. Only a point back of Energy FC with five games to go in ninth place in the Western Conference, Orange County and its fans will be looking on intently on Wednesday night when OKC visits Reno 1868 FC in its next outing, hoping for an opening that would allow it to move into the top eight.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Irvin Parra, Orange County SC – Parra recorded assists on both goals as his presence in attack continued to pay dividends for Orange County in a crucial victory to its playoff push.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 vs. Phoenix Rising FC – September 24, 6 p.m. ET, Thunderbird Stadium
Orange County SC at Real Monarchs SLC – September 22, 9 p.m. ET, Rio Tinto Stadium