Orange County SC came off their USL bye midweek, winning 1-0 in the U.S. Open Cup against LA Wolves FC, and now turn their attention back to league pl
Orange County SC came off their USL bye midweek, winning 1-0 in the U.S. Open Cup against LA Wolves FC, and now turn their attention back to league play, as they’ll host just their second game of the season against one of the in-form sides right now, Real Salt Lake’s USL side, Real Monarchs.
Monarchs are on a six-game winning streak right now, best in club history and just two away from the USL record. In contrast to previous seasons when they were bad (2015) or inconsistent but still not great (2016), this year they look like legit contenders and would be the odds-on Western Conference favorite if not for the slightly better run of San Antonio FC so far this season. As it stands, the team has a great mix of youngsters looking to impress for a shot at MLS, and youngish veterans, like midfielder Sebastian Velasquez, who has been very impressive so far this season, Chandler Hoffman, Nick Besler and Daniel Haber.
Put simply, Orange County have had good moments this season and certainly shouldn’t walk into this thinking they can’t get a result, because they absolutely can, but this won’t be an easy game. Logan Pause’s side has weathered three bye weeks early in the season and a road-heavy schedule quite well, all things considered, but they are on a two-game losing streak in USL play, after their road trips to Oklahoma produced no points. Despite all of that, being back at Orange County Great Park and coming off the Open Cup win, with the amateur Wolves definitely playing at the level of a Division II pro side, means the cobwebs have been shaken loose for OCSC and they can try to keep their home record perfect against Real Monarchs.
On the other side of the 405, LA Galaxy II will travel up to Washington to take on another MLS2 side, Seattle Sounders 2, on Saturday evening. These teams played once this season, with Seattle winning 2-1 in Carson on April 15.
Similar to Real Monarchs, S2 appear to be figuring things out in USL play in their third season. While they aren’t putting in dominant performances week to week, they are finding results more often than not, in contrast to Los Dos, who have been plagued by inconsistent form this season. Of course, a possible boost for this team may be counterintuitive, in that they’ve managed results in their last two road games. Perhaps playing away from home gives Mike Munoz’s squad a chance to play with the pressure off, and they pick up points? That theory will be put to the test, certainly, on Saturday, but it could be the sign of a trend emerging.
Seattle Sounders 2 vs. LA Galaxy II will kick off at 7 pm PT on Saturday at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, Wash. You can watch the stream on USL’s matchcenter.