Orange County SC become the last team in USL this season to host a home game, on Saturday when they play 405 Derby rivals LA Galaxy II at Orange County Great Park in Irvine. Orange County have moved to Orange County from UC Irvine, and will be looking for a good turnout as they settle into their new digs.
The teams are both coming off a bye week, having last played each other to a 1-1 draw nearly two weeks ago at the StubHub Center complex. The bye week and the immediate rematch means this game is probably going to feel quite a bit different than the usual USL regular season game, as the teams have had more time to prepare and figure out what’s working and what needs to work better this season.
It’s the second bye week of the young season for Orange County, who came out a little bit flat out of the last one, again, in the last 405 Derby game against LA. I wouldn’t be surprised if the layoff leaves the team a little bit lacking in sharpness to start the game, but on the bright side last time they snapped out of it fairly quickly. And while they deserved a point in the last game against Galaxy II, their goal came courtesy of an own goal, so I’m thinking Logan Pause spent some more time working on getting the ball in the back of the net during the break.
The bye likely came at just about the right time for Galaxy II, meanwhile. Finishing a rivalry game with a comeback draw certainly raised spirits around Mike Munoz’s team, while the break gave them time to regroup after a disappointing start to the season. And with the venue this week being brand new, for both teams, not to mention still just down the road from Carson, Orange County’s home field advantage may not yet be present.
This is the second of three meetings between the teams this regular season, the last until August. Will one team grab the advantage in the season series on Saturday, or will they keep the Derby delicately poised with another draw? It should be a landmark night for Orange County regardless of the result in one sense, but both teams will be eager to pick up points on Saturday.