March 16, 2019. Orange County SC open its gates at the Championship Stadium in Irvine to welcome fans for the first home game of the season. The pitch looked immaculate, the beer flowed by the pint, The County Line Coalition sang till their voices gave out.
What happened outside of the pitch, OCSC matched it in the first half.
In dominating fashion, Orange County suffocated Tulsa Roughnecks in possession as the away side couldn’t take the ball out of their own half.
OC broke the deadlock in the 13th minute as defender Kevin Alston smacked home a ball in the 6-yard box to make it 1-0 to the home side.
They would make it 2-0 at the stroke of halftime as Aodhan Quinn dispatched a penalty passed Roughnecks keeper Sean Lewis.
OC then would concede a penalty at the last kick of the half and Tulsa would make it 2-1 at the break.
At the start of the second half, that was when the wheels fell off the wagon for the home side.
Tulsa looked threatening right from the off as OC looked lost in possession.
A communication between center-back Walker Hume and new keeper Carlos Lopez made it 2-2.
They would then concede 2 goals in four minutes as they fell behind 4-2.
They would then concede again in the 80th minute as the away side made it 5-2.
Forward Giovanni Ramos-Godoy scored in second half stoppage time to make it 5-3, but the damage had already been inflicted.
Despite the crushing loss, here is my calm take, don’t panic Orange County SC fans.
At the start of every USL season, most clubs overhauled their entire squads due to high turnover. As a result, chemistry is usually lacking.
Despite returning 14 players from last season, OC had newcomers in their starting-XI. Hugo Arellano, Harry Forrester, Charlie Adams, Danny Chrisostomo, Jerry van Wolfgang (“new”), and goalkeeper Carlos Lopez.
The second goal OC conceded was down to a lack of understanding between defense and goalkeeper, and they created very few chances due to a lack of understanding between midfield and forward players.
Yes, one point in two matches isn’t nice by any means, but the season ends in October, meaning there is so much soccer still to play.
Whether Orange County address their keeper situation remains to be seen, but they’ll play better as the season goes along.
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