Nine Man Orange County SC Hold on to Tame the Toros

OCSC takes three big points at home.

Orange County SC’s Harry Forrester dribbles past a Phoenix Rising FC defender.  |   Photo courtesy of Orange County SC/Liza Rosales

Orange County SC’s Harry Forrester dribbles past a Phoenix Rising FC defender. | Photo courtesy of Orange County SC/Liza Rosales

Irvine, Calif., June 1 - Orange County Soccer Club took the field looking to extend their home unbeaten streak against the visiting Rio Grande Valley FC Toros. Orange County survived an early scare in the fourth minute when Aodhan Quinn was called for a handball in the box resulting in a penalty kick for RGV.  Ronaldo Pena stepped up to take the kick, but Patrick McLain guessed right and controlled the rebound to keep the game scoreless.

Orange County responded with some great offensive play from Michael Seaton and Daniel Crisostomo, but it was Quinn who helped Seaton break the scoreless draw. In the 10th minute, Quinn sent in a corner kick that Seaton expertly headed by RGV keeper Nicolas Corti to put Orange County up 1-0.

RGV bounced back with some opportunities of their own, but Harry Forrester had other plans. In the 31st minute, he pushed a ball past a defender and spotted Darwin Jones sprinting down the pitch. Forrester put a beautiful ball through to Jones who controlled the pass, took a touch to change the angle, and slotted his shot to put Orange County up by two.

Orange County had another chance in the 36th minute on a free kick, where Jerry van Wolfgang put a great cross into the box, but the ball bounced just wide of the goal.

McLain had several great saves in the first half, but in the 41st minute, RGV’s Robert Coronado found some open space and put a strike to the upper corner just out of McLain’s reach to claw one goal back. RGV threatened a few more times before the half, but great plays from McLain and Liam Trotter meant that the score stayed 2-1 at the half.

The second half saw some good play from Orange County with several good chances. The best was in the 59th minute when Seaton found himself free on goal, but couldn’t lift the shot over Corti.

In the 67th minute, Aodhan Quinn tried to tackle the ball away from a defender and he was booked for his second yellow card. Orange County found themselves down to 10 men to see out the last 20 minutes of the game.

McLain came up big several times including an acrobatic save in the 84th minute to keep a frantic RGV attack at bay and preserve the one goal lead.  McLain had help from a great display of team defense and incredible individual play from both Forrester and defender Joe Amico.

Orange County found themselves against an even greater challenge, when in stoppage time Darwin Jones pulled an RGV player down 40 yards from goal and was booked again. OCSC found themselves playing with nine men with three minutes to go. Again, Forrester came up big time defensively with both a very big tackle and a blocked shot with only seconds left in the half.

The final whistle blew and several OCSC players collapsed to the grass in pure exhaustion and relief, but knowing they’d earned three very big points at home against a very good attacking side.

Harry Forrester, who OCSC coach Braeden Cloutier called “the Man of the Match, by far”, spoke about how important it was to see the game out. “Today was more about showing a bit of passion and grinding out a win. We had to put our bodies on the line today, and take a few for the team, but it feels so much more rewarding when you win”.

Coach Cloutier wasn’t fazed by the players that were loaned down from the Houston Dynamo saying, “It doesn’t matter, we have guys who’ve played in the MLS and in England. That has nothing to do with tonight’s game, and we approach every game the same.” He praised Forrester’s game tonight saying “his tenacity and effort, to come here and embrace this opportunity, and to put in a shift like that, especially in the last ten minutes speaks volumes about him as a person and his character.”

Orange County hasn’t lost a game since April 20th, and have won two of their last three games at Championship Soccer Stadium. They look to continue that great run of form and stay in the playoff picture next Saturday on the road at Cashman Stadium against the Las Vegas Lights FC. Kickoff is at 7:30 pm.

Scoring:

10’: Michael Seaton (Aodhan Quinn)

31’: Darwin Jones (Harry Forrester)

41’: Robert Coronado (Ronaldo Pena)


Discipline:

5’: Aodhan Quinn (Yellow)

32’: Darwin Jones (Yellow)

38’: Daniel Crisostomo (Yellow)

67’: Aodhan Quinn (2nd Yellow/Red)

77’: Michael Seaton (Yellow)

90’: Joe Amico (Yellow)

90’+2’: Darwin Jones (2nd Yellow/Red)