Irvine, Calif. - On Military Appreciation Night in Orange County, Orange County Soccer Club welcomed Real Monarchs SLC. Orange County’s has been on a four-game unbeaten streak at home, and the Monarchs have only won 2 road games all season, so OC seemed poised to continue their home success.
The game started out a little bit worrisome for the home team, when the Monarchs forced Aaron Cervantes to come up with some massive saves. In the 8th minute, a good strike came in and Cervantes dove to his right to get just enough of the shot to put it high and over the bar.
The game settled down over the next twenty minutes with both teams trying to break through. It was Orange County that managed to strike first. In the 28th minute, Aodhan Quinn put a beautiful ball in from a corner kick, and Michael Orozco struck it down and the ball bounced by several Monarchs players and into the net.
The 38th minute saw Orange County double their lead. Darwin Jones received a pass from Harry Forrester and used his speed to turn the corner and find himself one on one with Monarchs keeper Andrew Putna. Jones reacted quickly to the charging Putna and chipped the ball over him and into the back in the net. It was a great end to the first half for Orange County, who happily took a two goal lead into the half.
The second half started just how Orange County wanted it to. In the 52nd minute, Real Monarchs were called for a hand ball deep in their half. Aodhan Quinn stepped up to take the ensuing free kick and he placed his shot around the wall and into the corner of the goal to increase OC’s lead to 3.
Real Monarchs managed to get one back in the 61st minute when Kalen Ryden headed a corner kick from Justin Portillo to break up the clean sheet. But Orange County kept pressing and defending well to stop the visitors from getting any closer. OC had a good opportunity in the 79th minute to add to their lead, when Putna was caught out of position, but the shot was deflected and bounced wide.
Aaron Cervantes had to come up big one last time in the 90th minute, pushing a dangerous shot wide and ending Real Monarchs’ last threat.
Harry Forrester, fresh off of being named to the Team of the Week spoke about the play tonight. “We’ve been on a good streak at the moment,” Forrester said, “To come out and score three goals at home is nice, and to get an assist is good, but we need to keep this going till the end of the season. Hopefully when we make the playoffs we can take this form into it.”
Coach Braeden Cloutier mentioned how big it was for the team to score from a set piece, they were dangerous last year, but this year haven’t been as consistent. Cloutier said, “to score two set piece goals was good. To get the goal from the corner from Michael Orozco and assist from Aodhan Quinn, at that time of the game got us a lot of momentum. In the second half, we knew they were going to come out fast, and for us to settle it down and for Aodhan Quinn to get that goal, it pretty much sealed it.”
This was a big home win for Orange County, who now sit in a playoff position. They have a tough road game next Sunday in Albuquerque against New Mexico United. Kickoff in Albuquerque is at 3pm.