It wasn’t a dominant win and at times it wasn’t pretty, but at the end of the night it was Orange County FC breathing a sigh of relief after a 2-1 victory over ASC San Diego.
San Diego started off as the better side and created quality chances by dominating possession.
Striker Garrett Heine had an opportunity inside the first ten minutes but put his shot wide of the net despite having a good look with possession in the OCFC penalty area. Minutes later midfielder Sean Callahan’s free header went over the bar after connecting with a cross from the right.
On the ensuing goal kick from keeper Brandon Gomez, a flick header from Kevin Jeon made its way to Jose Montes de Oca, who found himself one-on-one with ASC San Diego keeper Jean Antoine and the OCFC striker put his shot into the net to earn his third goal of the season and give OCFC a 1-0 lead.
The lead didn’t last long as ASC was awarded a penalty kick after a handball in the Orange County penalty area. Right back Matt Clare stepped up and put his shot past a diving Gomez to level the score at 1-1.
OCFC stepped up its game after San Diego equalized, but the visitors continued to create more chances through the excellent play of midfielders Dallin Cutler and Felipe Liborio. The chances came for San Diego, but many shots went wide or high over the net.
The home side changed up its tactics by playing long-ball and came close on more than one occasion through excellent runs from winger Dakota Collins. In the 45th minute, it was a pass from Collins that found midfielder Daniel ten Bosch. Antoine was out in no-man’s land and ten Bosch put his shot over the keeper and into the net to give OCFC a 2-1 lead heading into the interval.
Fans at Championship Soccer Stadium were expecting more goals in the second half after such an entertaining first half. It was a back-and-forth game with both teams trading possession in the first part of the second half, but towards the end of the match it was OCFC playing tight defense as they fought hard to hold onto the 2-1 lead.
Midfielder Armando Flores was all over the field tightening up on defense and getting into the passing lanes to create opportunities for his teammates while center backs Cody Shelton and Patrick Ianni were magnificent all night getting to 50/50 balls and sacrificing their bodies.
ASC San Diego head coach Ziggy Korytoski brought on 2017 NPSL co-Golden Boot winner Amani Walker as a second-half substitute to try and find the equalizer. The San Diego attack continued to be a problem for the home side and the best opportunity to score came in stoppage time when ASC San Diego was awarded a free kick just outside the OCFC penalty area. Cutler curled his free kick over the OCFC wall, but Gomez made yet another magnificent diving save to preserve the vital 2-1 victory.
It wasn’t a pretty victory for Orange County FC, but everyone knows that a win is a win and three points are three points.