ASC San Diego clashed with Orange County FC in the first round of the playoffs on Saturday night. The atmosphere was electric, and fans from both sides made sure they were heard. In what was an exciting, back-and-forth game, Orange County came out on top 3-1.
The match started off slowly with both sides testing each other, and jostling for position. The first real threat came in the 22nd minute off a set piece for ASC. Aleks Berkolds got on the end of a Luis Cardona free kick, but he headed the ball inches wide from the far post. In the 32nd minute, OCFC striker Jose Montes De Oca broke through the ASC defense and was all alone with goalkeeper Jean Antoine. However, his low shot sailed past the post wide.
In the 36th minute, Orange County player Jonathan Bryant was subbed off for Dakota Collins. Bryant went hard into a tackle with ASC’s new boy Mac Clarke, and he was laboring in the first half following the challenge. Both sides were lacking some sharpness in the first half, as they made careless passes in the midfield. At the half, the match was deadlocked at 0-0.
As the second half commenced, the game took a completely different turn. ASC and OCFC were both on the offensive. In the 48th minute, the Orange County striker weaved past the ASC defence, and even dribbled past sprawling goalkeeper Jean Antoine. However, he hit the goal post with a wide open net. Ziggy Korytoski’s side went on the counter-attack and Dallin Cutler’s low cross was met by Amani Walker but he sailed his shot well over the crossbar.
In the 51st minute, Walker made up for his miss as he was sprung free from a great ball struck by Sergio Enriquez. Amani Walker placed his shot low, and into the far post where the keeper had no chance. Mission Bay Stadium was buzzing as Korytoski’s team struck first.
Just four minutes later, Orange County responded as a shot from outside of the box took a deflection, and beat Jean Antoine. A few minutes later, the referee awarded Paul Caligiuri’s men a penalty kick. Daniel Crisostomo stepped up to the spot and made no mistake to give OCFC the 2-1 lead in the 59th minute.
ASC San Diego started pouring on the pressure, and OCFC were on their heels. Goalkeeper Hugo Gomez put in a stellar performance as he stopped an Amani Walker penalty kick. He was confident and deserved to be mentioned in the Man of the Match debate. OCFC finally capped things off in the 84th minute as Collins finished off a great play to give Orange County the two-goal edge. ASC San Diego’s season comes to an end, as OCFC move on in the playoffs.
Contributor: ASC San Diego
Photo Credit: Michelle & Keith Dereld