Herriman, UT, Oct. 9, 2019 - A midweek match up that could determine fourth place, and a home playoff match, saw Orange County Soccer Club travel to Utah to meet up with Real Monarchs SLC. Real Monarchs have been pretty dominant at home this year, so Orange County had a tough task ahead of them.
The first half was one that saw both teams almost score, but neither side could find the back of the net. Early on Orange County struggled to break the Monarchs down, as the home side sat deep and defended with all eleven players, and a five man back line.
There were a couple early looks, but nothing that challenging or close for either side until the 20th minute when Real Monarchs put a ball into the Orange County box and Walker Hume blocked the cross, but the ball went straight toward the OC goal. Frederik Due was up to the task as he reacted quickly to keep the ball out and Michael Orozco came over to slide in and block the shot to end the Monarchs threat.
In the 35th minute, Orange County had a great opportunity to put themselves up. Michael Seaton had the ball on the wing and instead of crossing the ball in, he picked out Jerry van Wolfgang at the top of the 18 yard box. Van Wolfgang picked out the far right corner, which had everyone beat except the post. No Orange County player was able to get a clean touch on the rebound, so the score remained 0-0. Van Wolfgang had another shot a minute later, but that ball was pushed away by Real keeper Andrew Putna.
Orange County defended well, especially at the close of half to keep Real off the score sheet. They looked like the stronger side as they started to figure out the low block that had frustrated them earlier in the half, but had to settle for a draw to close out the first half.
Orange County was hoping to have a half like they did on Saturday, and it looked like it would happen. Orange County was the more aggressive team and had several good looks for Harry Forrester and Darwin Jones.
The 64th minute, it looked like van Wolfgang had finally got one to find the back of the net as he chased down a ball and turned to put the shot in, but it Putna got just enough of it to bounce really close to the post, but ultimately wide.
While Walker Hume was off the pitch to deal with a nose bleed, Real Monarchs took advantage of Aodhan Quinn playing Center Back. In the 73rd minute a ball was passed across the box and Quinn tried to clear it, but put it in the back of his net for an own goal.
Seaton got close in the 76th as he rose for a header that bounced just wide on the right side, and that summed up the Orange County night. Frustratingly close, but not quite good enough.
The 83rd minute saw the Monarchs put another one in and put the game away as Orange County kept fighting, but came up short.
Orange County’s tough schedule does not let up as they have a game Saturday against Sacramento. Orange County can still reach fourth place, but they will need a strong showing against the Republic. Kick off is at 7:30 pm.
73’: Aodhan Quinn (OG)
50’: Tate Schmitt (yellow)
50’: Michael Seaton (yellow)