Irvine, CA - Although Orange County dominated much of the first half play, Tulsa turned it on the second half and scored four goals to shock the Orange and Black at Championship Soccer Stadium. Tulsa was unrelenting in their attack and pounced on every Orange County mistake, while Orange County could not take advantage of their opportunities.
There was plenty of offense to go around with Orange County getting two chances early and Kevin Alston getting the second one over the Tulsa keeper to start the scoring in the 13th minute. Orange County continued to dominate possession and looked like a team on a mission.
The first half ended in a flurry of offense which resulted in a penalty kick for each team only three minutes apart and both in stoppage time. The first was for Orange County when Godoy was fouled in the box and Aodhan Quinn took the penalty and scored to put OC up 2-0. Tulsa earned their penalty when a shot hit Walker Hume in the arm and Christian Altamirano scored his penalty which brought the first half to an end.
The second half featured five goals, but unfortunately four were from the visitors. The first was scored in the 54th minute, after a clearance attempt from Carlos Lopez was deflected back toward goal. Then, Janu Silva beat Walker Hume to the ball and chipped it in to bring Tulsa even. Orange County still looked calm and in control of the game, but in the 74th minute, on a set piece, Luca Lobo headed the ball toward goal, which was beautifully saved by Lopez, but Lobo pounced on the rebound to put Tulsa up a goal. Another set piece goal scored by Lobo in the 78th minute put Tulsa up by two. Tulsa added on again in the 80th minute when Fabián Bastidas was played through and beat the OC keeper.
In stoppage time, Giovanni Godoy scored on a beautiful strike to the top right corner to give Orange County a late consolation goal but it was too little too late and Orange County lost 3-5.
“We just lost a bit of focus.” Joe Amico expressed after the game. “We started off strong and we just have to stay focused the whole game.” When asked about what positives the team can take away from the game, he said “[w]e have a lot of firepower up top. We just got to work it out behind there. We are always in control of our destiny. No excuses we will come back and get it done next game.”
Asked for his feelings of the game, Orange County Coach Braeden Cloutier said, “[f]or 44 minutes there was only one team on the field. Lose a little bit of focus, give up a goal, keep a team in a game long enough, make mistakes like we did tonight, you are going to get punished.” Asked what his team can learn from this he was adamant that “[i]t’s going to get sorted out real quick.” He continued “[i]t’s very hard to find any brights spots. For the first 45 minutes we looked like a strong side.”
Orange County will have a chance to bounce back with their next game being at home versus New Mexico United on March 23rd at Championship Soccer Stadium in Irvine. Tickets are available at orangecountysoccer.com
13’- OC- Alston
45’+4’-Tulsa-Cristhian Altamirano (PK)
54’-Tulsa-Janú Silva (AJ Ajeakwa)
78’-Tulsa-Luca Lobo (Fabián Bastidas)
80’-Tulsa-Fabián Bastidas (Rodrigo da Costa)
90’+3’-OC-Giovanni Ramos Godoy (Connor Gordon)
Charlie Adams completed 92.9% of his passes
Joe Amico won 10 duels and 6 tackles.