As the final whistle blew, ASC San Diego fell short to a determined Orange County FC team by a score of 3-1. As predicted, this was a physical, and intense chess match between the two sides.
The first half was a feeling out process where both sides were attempting to establish control of the midfield. Orange County FC were the first to create scoring chances, but goalkeeper Jean Antoine made his presence felt early in this contest making key saves. ASC defender Kuba Waligorski demonstrated his strength, and defensive awareness in the first half, as he broke up three clear cut chances that would have lead to a breakaway.
ASC’s first significant threat came in the 32nd minute as Eric Avila dribbled past his defender, and placed a cross on Amani Walker’s foot, but he miss-timed the volley as the ball rocketed overtop of the crossbar. On what looked like a harmless play, Connor Gordon broke the deadlock in the 42nd minute, securing a vital one-goal cushion for Orange County FC heading into the locker room.
The second half continued with the same level of intensity, and physicality as the first. In the first minute of the second half, OCFC were awarded a penalty. Once again, Jean Antoine gave ASC San Diego life with a big stop. Antoine really gave the home supporters something to cheer about with his impressive play. The goalkeeper showdown was on full display as Brandon Gomez was also making crucial saves for OCFC in key moments of the match.
Amani Walker came to life, and produced some high quality scoring chances. ASC San Diego finally put one away in the 55th minute as Dallin Cutler whipped in a corner kick, and Walker got on the end of it. It was a well-deserved goal for Ziggy Korytoski’s side as they had been unlucky not to score up to that point.
As ASC continued to press up the field, Orange County began to counter and responded with a 62nd minute goal scored by none other than Connor Gordon. Two minutes later, Erik Mueller gave the away side a two-goal lead from a rebound goal off of a corner kick. There were plenty of OCFC fans who made the trip from Irvine in attendance, and supported their players throughout the match.
There were moments in the match where aggression and hostility was on display, but cooler heads prevailed, and the referee did a good job of defusing the situation. Khadim Seye was assessed a yellow card for a mistimed challenge, and Antoine was slow getting up following a collision with the OCFC striker.
In the 67th minute Cutler had a great opportunity to put one away, but Gomez was on his game making the vital stop. As the referee blew the final whistle, the game ended 3-1 for OCFC.
ASC San Diego had chances, but Orange County Football Club was the better side on this day. It was clear that they were prepared from the get-go, and understood the magnitude of this match.
Korytoski summed up the result as “disappointing,” but he gave credit where credit was due.
There are still 12 more points available to be had, and anything can happen in an NPSL season. ASC travels to Riverside to take on the Coras June 3rd.
Contributor: ASC San Diego
Photo Credit : Michelle & Keith Dereld