Another week of Southern California teams going far afield in USL regular season play, and another week of similar results. It wasn’t a carbon copy of last week, but once more LA Galaxy II will be pleased with their result while Orange County SC will be disappointed.
Galaxy II drew Rio Grande Valley FC 1-1 on Saturday at H-E-B Park in Texas. While RGVFC’s Kyle Murphy opened the scoring in the 36th minute with a long-range wormburner, LA didn’t drop their heads, however, and really turned up the intensity in the second half. As Ethan Zubak got closer and closer to an equalizer, he ultimately set up the tying goal, on a nice counterattack that was finished by substitute Justin Dhillon in the 72nd minute.
It’s the second goal in two weeks off the bench for Dhillon, who may become the next youngster to establish himself in the Galaxy II attack this season after Zubak’s early-season exploits.
Overall, grabbing a draw against RGVFC on the road is a good result. Rio Grande Valley have been one of the better sides in the Western Conference since they began play last year, and with LA struggling out of the gate this season, the two-game unbeaten run shows they may have found some traction in their campaign. Their next game comes next Saturday at home against the star-studded but inconsistent Phoenix Rising FC.
On the other hand, the road trip was once again not as kind to Orange County SC, who returned to Oklahoma for the second consecutive week and again lost, 1-0 to OKC Energy FC on Saturday. OCSC’s Oscar Sorto was sent off in the 23rd minute for dragging a player down on a breakaway, but goalkeeper Charlie Lyon gave the visitors a life line by saving the subsequent penalty.
Still, playing two-thirds of the game down a man was too much, as Alex Dixon scored from the run of play for Energy FC before halftime, and while Orange County didn’t let the deficit spiral out, they struggled to create much in the way of scoring chances to try and pull level. To be fair, when you go down a man so early, it’s hard to really do much but maintain your stamina and hope for a fortunate break, and the latter didn’t end up emerging.
So in contrast to LA, Orange County will look back on the last two weeks on the road, with their first losing streak of the season now on, and hope a return home will provide another boost after starting the campaign very well on the road. They’ve got yet another bye week in league play coming up, however, so perhaps the extra time will give them a chance to regroup before their next USL game, against a tough opponent in Real Monarchs, albeit at home in Orange County Great Park.