LA Galaxy II are off again this week, but Orange County SC have picked up the slack with a fairly busy week of their own. They’ve got two games, against the same opponent, Rio Grande Valley FC, and they also announced the opening date for their permanent stadium.
First, OCSC traveled down to Texas to take on RGVFC on Wednesday, emerging with a 1-1 draw. The visitors, shorthanded once again on the road, missing a man to make up a complete 18-man matchday squad, nevertheless took the lead 17 minutes in, with Wuilito Fernandes and Dusan Stevanovic teaming up to press an RGVFC defender deep in his own end, before Fernandes hit a nifty rolling set-up to Stevanovic, who blasted home the shot to score.
That lead only lasted about 10 minutes, however, as Oscar Sorto was judged to have fouled TJ Casner in Orange County’s box, and Eric Bird stepped up to convert the penalty. Interestingly, it was the first game Orange County has been involved in which used video review from a video assistant replay, and in this instance, the VAR agreed it was a penalty.
With the game tied, Orange County, which continues to miss a plethora of attacking starters, grinded their way through the second half and got a point from the game. All things considered, it was another good result, and they’re inching their way up the table, now five games unbeaten in league play.
They’ll get a chance to grab a win against RGVFC immediately, as they host Rio Grande Valley on Saturday at Orange County Great Park. Through a quirk of the scheduling, the teams will meet back-to-back in the same week, and they are next to each other in the standings, with RGVFC two points ahead. So if Orange County beat them on Saturday, they’ll leapfrog RGV, while if the Texas side wins, they’ll put considerable distance between themselves and OC.
In other news, Orange County announced this week that their home opener in their new permanent venue at Orange County Great Park in Irvine will be on Aug. 15 against Tulsa Roughnecks. An Orange County SC spokesperson told SoccerNation that game will be the technical opening for the stadium, which has 2,601 seats and will have grass seating for an additional 2,500, but the team will have a big grand opening event later in the week, Aug. 18 against Phoenix Rising FC.
So Orange County SC is now entering the business end of their campaign, and will have another venue opening to look forward to after the successful opening of their temporary venue earlier this season while the stadium at Great Park was under construction.