With the man advantage for the entirety of the second half, Orange County SC left it late to draw 1-1 vs. Phoenix Rising in the grand opening of the new Championship Stadium, courtesy of a Sola Abolaji header.
Unlike Tuesday’s match vs. Tulsa, Orange County SC started off well. They contained Phoenix and they held the lion’s share of possession.
But there were similarities.
With all of the possession, Orange County did not create many clear-cut chances. Mostly due to the fact that the final ball was lacking.
There were many misplaced passes in the final third. The only notable chance of the half came in the 14th minute. Jerry van Ewijk broke through the Rising defense and directed his shot to the far post, but was dealt with by Phoenix keeper Carl Woszczynski.
Phoenix broke the deadlock in the 18th minute as Christian Cortez forced Orange County keeper Charlie Lyon into a mistake as he was ready to clear the ball from the 18-yard box.
Despite going down 1-0, Orange County still controlled the game. Phoenix had limited chances and the home side retained the ball with ease. But chances were few and far between.
But that changed toward the end of the first half.
Phoenix midfielder AJ Gray was sent off in the 43rd minute for going studs up on a 50/50 challenge against Juan Pablo Ocegueda.
As expected, Orange County forced the issue to an even greater extent in the second half.
Logan Pause made his first attacking substitution in the 54th minute as he took off defender Joe Franco for former Walsall FC midfielder James Baxendale.
As a result, Orange County had a chance to go-ahead in the 59th minute as van Ewijk’s shot was blocked off the line by defender Peter Ramage.
Orange County continued to ask questions of the Rising defense as their entire team set up shop defensively in their own half.
Many shots were blocked and crosses went astray, but the home side got a deserved equalizer in the 88th minute as substitute Sola Abolaji headed home a cross in the 88th minute.
Abolaji described the experience briefly:
” It was great. It was cool to score in my first night back.”
Despite the comeback, Orange County SC haven’t won in five games. Their offense is stuttering and individual mistakes are costing them.
Last night’s result could be a turning point for Orange County. They found freedom in the second half offensively (even though they did have the man advantage) that could serve as confidence booster.
Midfielder Richard Chaplow spoke last night about the positive trend after the result:
“It’s another point on the board and another point closer to the tally we want to get to, but we got to start picking up wins. We’re running out of games and we’re right on the cusp of the playoffs. Phoenix are in the same position we are. As a positive, we are undefeated. Two draws on the bounce against tough teams like Tulsa [Roughnecks] and Phoenix and we got another tough team [OKC Energy] to play against next Friday.”
Even before the red card, Orange County SC did have chances to score, but they will need to create more chance 11 v. 11 if they seek to return to the playoffs this fall.
Orange County will look to return to winning ways at home vs. Oklahoma City Energy next Friday
*All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise noted
Latest posts by Cameron Milledge (see all)
- LAFC ousted in US Open Cup at the hands of Portland Timbers - July 13, 2019
- LA Galaxy Suffer First Home Loss of the Season - May 13, 2019
- Calm Take: Don’t panic Orange County SC fans - March 19, 2019