By Art Eftekhari/Orange County FC
Orange County FC badly needed to end its two-game winless skid and head coach Paul Caligiuri knew his men would have to be on top of their game to defeat City of Angels FC at Portola High School.
But things started off perfectly when a handball gave OCFC a penalty kick after only three minutes.
Argentinian midfielder Francisco Bello made no mistake and scored his first goal of the season in only his second appearance with OCFC as City of Angels keeper Daniel Mendoza dove the wrong way.
OCFC was on the attack throughout the first half and twenty minutes later Dakota Collins ended his goal drought when he knocked in a cross from debutant Blake Frischknecht to give OCFC a 2-0 lead.
The visitors got back into the match when Quentin Anson fired a left-footed shot past Pepe Miranda from the top of the box to cut the lead to 2-1 with nine minutes remaining in the first half.
The halftime score did not reflect what went on in the first half as OCFC easily could have scored two more goals if it wasn’t for the amazing saves from Mendoza.
OCFC midfielder Cody Shelton came close on two occasions and couldn’t believe it when he was denied at point-blank range and in a one-on-one breakaway.
Early in the second half, OCFC was on the attack once again as left back Aaron Lombardi was brought down in the penalty area.
This time it was Frischknecht who scored from the penalty spot to give OCFC a 3-1 lead in the 51st minute.
Six minutes later at the other end of the field, City of Angels was awarded a penalty after a foul was committed by Tekodah Lobsiger in the penalty area.
Midfielder Tristan Korras scored his fourth goal of the season when he put his shot past Miranda to cut the lead to 3-2.
Both teams traded possession and opportunities as the minutes ticked away and the frustration continued for OCFC when a beautiful free kick from Lombardi was saved by a diving Mendoza to keep the score at 3-2.
As time went on, the mood in the stadium was tense because the score remained unchanged and OCFC had trouble finding the clinching goal.
But in the 81st minute, a throw-in from Cody Shelton was deflected by Michael Bryant and Frischknecht was in the right place at the right time when he beat Mendoza with a close-range shot to give OCFC a 4-2 lead.
Three minutes later, a long cross from Lombardi was headed into the net by Frischknecht to complete his hat trick and give OCFC the 5-2 victory.
It was a great team effort in the win for OCFC but there was hardly any debate regarding man of the match honors as Blake Frischknecht got three goals and one assist in his debut with Orange County FC.
After the final whistle, the Man of the Match was humble and in good spirits.
“I feel pretty good,” Frischknecht said. “You don’t score three goals every game. I am happy to be here and thankful to Paul Caligiuri and assistant coach RJ Castelan…it was a good night.”
The Orange County FC supporters are thankful as well and they are ready to cheer their club to victory in the upcoming First Round match of the 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Photo Credit: Glenn Feingerts