OCFC put four goals past FC Golden State
By Art Etekhari/Orange County FC
Championship Soccer Stadium had a great turnout as soccer fans were ready to see the most anticipated match in the Southwest Conference between hosts Orange County FC and FC Golden State.
Going into the match, FC Golden State was sitting on top of the conference and was on fire after scoring twelve goals in its previous two matches.
Very soon after the kickoff, it was evident that FC Golden State was the better side as it controlled possession, created more scoring opportunities, and pressured OCFC in the midfield.
OCFC played disciplined defense but the longball tactics hardly produced any clear-cut chances to take the lead.
FC Golden State continued to control the match with a free-flowing attack and was rewarded in the 17th minute when striker Jose Montes de Oca connected on a cross from Ignacio Cancela to give FC Golden State a 1-0 lead.
Everything was going to plan for FC Golden State and the long balls were not working for Orange County FC.
By the way the match was going, it appeared that a set piece would provide the best chance for OCFC to get on the scoreboard.
A corner kick from Aaron Lombardi in the 36th minute couldn’t be cleared and in the ensuing scramble it was Dakota Collins who quickly found a wide-open Michael Bryant.
Bryant’s pass found Ryan Holland to head the ball into the net past Enzo Robertoni to level the score at 1-1.
It was Holland’s third goal of the season and the tall center back from England found himself in the right place at the right time for the second match in a row.
With time winding down in the first half, it looked as if the score would remain tied going into the interval.
But a giveaway from FC Golden State midfielder Alvaro Madrigal would prove to be costly in stoppage time.
The pass from Madrigal went right to Dawon Kim and the Korean winger quickly got the ball to left back Aaron Lombardi.
Lombardi made a nice run with the ball and his pass into the penalty area was headed into the net by Cody Shelton to give OCFC a 2-1 lead.
The timing for the goal was perfect and the FC Golden State players would not be saved by the bell as the momentum swung in favor of OCFC.
OCFC was more aggressive to start the second half and a pass from Daniel ten Bosch near midfield was kicked into the air by center back Alex Culwell.
But the ball went to Shelton and he wasted no time with the space he had and blasted a left-footed shot from well outside the penalty area past a diving Robertoni to give OCFC a 3-1 lead.
OCFC was playing with a two-goal lead and with plenty of confidence.
Ten minutes after Shelton scored his second goal of the night, Michael Bryant took advantage of another opportunity.
After receiving a pass from Dakota Collins in the penalty area, Bryant calmly placed his shot into the far corner to give OCFC a commanding 4-1 lead.
There would be no more goals on the night as OCFC stuck to its game plan and made sure there would be no late heroics.
FC Golden State head coach Robert Friedland made substitutions to try and find a spark off the bench, but nothing would be able to stop the excellent teamwork from OCFC.
Defensive midfielder Jordan Chrzan didn’t get his name on the stat sheet, but he earned Man of the Match honors by setting the tone and keeping the midfield organized against a tough opponent.
It was a huge victory for OCFC and it was also a night that got turned upside down for FC Golden State.
FC Golden State was the better team in the first half. But looking back, it appeared that the visitors got rattled after Cody Shelton scored the go-ahead goal in stoppage time to give OCFC a 2-1 lead.
“When you let in a goal late in the first half and you find yourself down a goal after being in the lead just minutes earlier, you either get fired up or let down,” Jordan Chrzan said. “They let down and we took advantage of it.”
With the 4-1 victory, Orange County FC sits atop of the Southwest Conference and will be in the mood for revenge when it visits the desert to face FC Arizona on April 20.
Photo Credit: Glenn Feingerts