Last season, Orange County SC performed at an incredibly high level finishing 2nd place in the western conference. They narrowly missed out on the USL Cup final losing in heartbreaking fashion to eventual runners-up Phoenix Rising.
In 2018, scoring goals was the name of the game for the Southern California side as they scored 70 goals, which was the most in the western conference.
Much of the goals last season were scored by Danish international Thomas Enevoldsen.
The Danish international scored 20 goals and assisted 9 not only coming in second place in the golden boot race, but became the first player in OCSC history to score 20 goals in a single season.
Fast forward to 2019, and his name isn’t on the team sheet.
Enevoldsen took his talents to the eastern conference and signed for Indy Eleven in the offseason, leaving Orange County short of options in the goalscoring department.
Orange County will hope that Jamaican international Michael Seaton, who formed a formidable partnership with the Dane, increases his goal tally from 12 last season.
Also, midfielder Aodhan Quinn will have even more pressure to create more from the center of the park to keep Orange County near the top of the standings in the western conference.
While Enevoldsen left, OC didn’t stand idly by and signed two forwards this offseason.
First, they signed English international Harry Forrester.
Forrester has quite the resume heading down to Orange County, most notably playing for historic Scottish side Rangers, but here’s the issue. He hasn’t scored more than 10 goals for any team he’s played for.
That certainly is an issue for a team that needs goals from many players this season. Whether he finds it easier in America than abroad remains to be seen, but he will have humongous boots to fill.
Second, they signed a familiar face to the OC faithful, midfielder Jerry van Ewijk (or van Wolfgang if you want to use his married name).
The midfielder had a successful season at Reno 1868 FC last season as they got bounced out by his former club in the quarterfinals.
Again, the same worry with Forrester also applies to him as well. He also hasn’t scored in double digits in any club he’s been at in a single season in his career.
On the flip side, what separates van Ewijk from Forrester is familiarity.
Manager Braden Cloutier was an assistant to former manager Logan Pause when the Dutch international played in Orange County back in 2017. Cloutier is ecstatic to have the fleet-footed winger back in the fold:
I couldn’t be happier that Jerry has decided to return to Orange County… Jerry is a player that I had a big part in bringing to America two years ago, and I feel he fits perfectly with our style & system of play we have now implemented here in Orange County.”
There’s no other way to put it, Orange County need more players to contribute in the goal column to compensate for the loss of Enevoldsen. If their new signings step up, then OCSC could have a similar season as last campaign, but if they can’t, it will be a tough season for one of the USL Championship’s elite clubs.
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