IRVINE, Calif. – A first trip to the USL Cup is on the line for both No. 1-seed Orange County SC and No. 3-seed Phoenix Rising FC when the two sides meet in the Western Conference Final of the 2018 USL Cup Playoffs on Saturday night at Champions Soccer Stadium, with both teams looking to extend the best seasons in their respective histories. #OCvPHX kicks off at 10 p.m. ET and can be watched live on ESPN+ in the United States and YouTube internationally, and followed live via the USL Match Center.
@OrangeCountySC advanced to the Western Conference Final for the first time in its history with a 1-0 victory against No. 5-seed Reno 1868 FC last Saturday night as Aodhan Quinn scored the only goal of the game in the 29th minute. The goal was Quinn’s 12th of the season, continuing the midfielder's career year that has also seen him register 15 assists across the regular season and playoffs. Orange County has yet to concede this postseason, with defender Jos Hooiveld having recorded 20 of the club’s league-high 61 clearances this postseason and Alex Crognale adding another 15 as goalkeeper Andre Rawls has had to make only three saves across two shutouts.
@PHXRisingFC has used its attacking firepower to reach its first Western Conference Final with the side having recorded seven goals across two postseason games after a 4-2 victory against the No. 7-seed Swope Park Rangers last Friday night before a club-record crowd of 7,707 fans at the Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex. Four different players found the net in the victory, including legendary Ivory Coast forward Didier Drogba, who has scored in each of the three USL Cup Playoffs appearances he has made in the past two seasons. The regular-season series ended all square between the clubs, with each team taking victory once at the Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex, but the last three times the sides have met at Champions Soccer Stadium there has been a late equalizer, including a 94th-minute goal for Phoenix from a free kick by Drogba in a 1-1 draw on July 8, 2017 and a 90th-minute goal by Orange County’s Alex Crognale in a 1-1 draw on March 17, 2018.
81.13 – Orange County has a passing accuracy rate of 81.13 percent this postseason, the highest of the four teams remaining in the 2018 USL Cup Playoffs.
4 – Solomon Asante scored four of Phoenix’s five goals this season against Orange County, including a hat trick in OCSC’s 4-3 win when the teams last met on August 11.
FiveThirtyEight.com Match Predictor: Orange County 62%, Phoenix 38%
Orange County SC – GK: Andre Rawls; D: Kevin Alston, Walker Hume, Alex Crognale, Joe Amico; M: Richard Chaplow, Mats Bjurman, Darwin Jones, Aodhan Quinn; F: Thomas Enevoldsen, Michael Seaton
Phoenix Rising FC – GK: Carl Woszczynski; D: Amadou Dia, Mike da Fonte, Joe Farrell, Saad Abdul-Salaam; DM: Kevon Lambert, Collin Fernandez; AM: Jason Johnson, Didier Drogba, Solomon Asante; F: Chris Cortez
Orange County – None
Phoenix – None
REF: Tim Ford
AR1: Cory Richardson
AR2: Brooke Mayo
4TH: Rosendo Mendoza