Under the midday sun in Irvine, Orange County Soccer Club welcomed a hot Reno 1868 FC side. Reno came to OC on a five game winning streak which brought them up to 2nd place in the West, but it was Orange County who looked like they were the team in form at start the game.
In just the 3rd minute, Michael Seaton and Darwin Jones teamed up for the first opportunity of the game, but their dangerous build up was cleared for an early corner kick. They tried it again in the 5th minute, but Jones’s pass was cleared away, but it was a sign of good things to come. It was the 11th minute that saw that partnership come together as Jones found Seaton wide open in the box and Seaton’s header found the back of the net to put Orange County up 1-0.
Michael Seaton broke the play down: “Great play by Darwin, it’s something that we’ve been working on in training for the past week is finding deliveries in the box. We are starting to build that relationship up top. We have to know each other’s strengths and I’m good in the air, so if you can get to the endline to get it up and I’ll get there.”
Orange County continued to be the more aggressive team. They kept the pressure high and consistently found space down the wings to stretch Reno’s defense wide. The 20th minute saw several great chances for both Seaton and Jones, but they couldn’t find their second goal.
It wasn’t until after the hydration break at the 30 minute mark that Darwin Jones found his way through. Seaton returned the favor to Jones with a nice pass through that caught Jones in stride. As the defenders were closing in on him, Jones put a powerful shot that had enough on it to get through Reno goalkeeper James Marcinkowski to put OC up by 2.
The defense was up to the task in the first half as well, limiting Reno to only 2 shots, with none on target. Both teams went to cool off at the half with OCSC leading 2-0.
The second half saw Orange County continue their frantic pace on both sides of the ball and in the 50th minute Jones found the back of the net again. Christian Duke, in his first start of the season, played a great ball into Jones who fought off his defender and also beat Reno’s keeper to put Orange County ahead 3-0.
Orange County’s defense also continued to be as stifling as the heat on the pitch and frustrate Reno’s offensive attack. It wasn’t until the 58th minute, after Orange County was called for a foul in the box that Reno got their only shot on goal of the game. Corey Hertzog converted the penalty kick to break Aaron Cervantes’s clean sheet.
Reno never got close to scoring again, but in the 65th minute Jerry van Wolfgang got very close to scoring Orange County’s fourth of the day. He sent a blistering strike from outside the 18 yard box that had Marcinkowski beat, but it rang off the crossbar and back out.
Daniel Crisostomo had the pleasure of scoring the fourth goal of the game. It doubled as the rookie’s first career professional goal. Seaton assisted as Danny had Owusu-Ansah Kontor running down the field with him, but he chose to take the shot himself and put the game away for good.
After scoring two goals on the day, Darwin Jones spoke about his day, saying “it was a weight off my shoulders, we’ve been chipping away trying to get the combinations going up front, for it to finally starting to click is big for the team.”
Christian Duke also echoed a lot of what Jones was saying. “It was a little bit of chemistry, we worked a lot on patterns, formation, and what everyone should be doing so I think we were all on the same page.” He continued, “the second half we wanted to keep the ball more and finish the game off in the back of the net.”
Coach Braeden Cloutier was complimentary of the play on the pitch. “We need to score the first goal and set the tone and put the pressure on the other team. Today was good. Christian Duke being back in for his first game. You can hear him on the field, the leadership and the quality that he has. I think it settled us down and he was a big reason why.” He also praised not only the front line, but the back line as well. Speaking about Cervantes and his first win, he said “the last few games we have limited the teams to virtually zero chances. We have a very experienced back line and they know what they need to do. I am ecstatic for (Cervantes).”
Orange County does not get too much rest, as the have Sacramento Republic at home on Saturday night. Kick off will be at 7:00 pm at Championship Soccer Stadium.
11’: Michael Seaton (Darwin Jones)
36’: Darwin Jones (Michael Seaton)
50’: Darwin Jones (Christian Duke)
58’: Corey Hertzog (penalty)
90’+3’: Daniel Crisostomo (Michael Seaton)
60’: Edson Alvarado (Yellow)