Expect Fireworks During the Games, Too, as Orange County Begins 2020 Season
When Orange County Soccer Club kicks off its 2020 USL season Friday night against the El Paso Locomotives at Championship Soccer Stadium, fans in attendance are guaranteed the first of five Friday Night Fireworks shows to take place after games.
But based on some of the moves made by the Orange County SC in preparation for the games on the field in 2020, the fireworks are going to be there every night a game is played, and you won't have to wait for the final whistle to see them.
With two high-powered additions at the forward position, including a former 20-goal scorer for OCSC and a former USL MVP, along with several key returning players at forward and midfield, head coach Braeden Cloutier all but guarantees his team will again be at the top of the USL in chances and goals in what should be a freewheeling funfest for Orange County fans.
"They're definitely not going to see long balls," said Cloutier, entering his third season at the helm. "We're a team that wants to get the ball down the field on the ground and play. We're going to build up from the back and create opportunities. I don't want to possess the ball just for the sake of possession. I want to open up the defense and create opportunities. With the players we have, it gives us that luxury. We're going to play with a high tempo and hopefully, bring some electricity to the fans and have even more of a home-field advantage than we've had in the past."
Thomas Enevoldsen, who had 20 goals and 11 assists as Golden Boot runner-up for Orange County in 2018, when the team took the Western Conference regular-season title and reached the Western Conference finals, is back after a one-year absence. Joining him is Sean "Ugo" Okoli, the 2016 USL MVP and Golden Boot winner with FC Cincinnati. Their combined goal-scoring ability, when paired with the likes of Orange County mainstays Michael Orozco, Aodhan Quinn and Darwin Jones, and newcomers Seth Casiple and Rob Kiernan, makes Orange County a force to be reckoned with.
"I think we have the strongest unit that we've ever had," Cloutier said. "Two years ago, we were one of the highest-scoring teams in the league, we created the most opportunities and chances, and that's the type of soccer I want to play. On paper, it looks great. But, ultimately, it's what happens on the field. I think we've started out positively with the acquisitions we put together, and now we feel we can compete for a championship.
"Going into Friday night, after getting on the run we were on the second half of last year, we know we need to get off to a good start this year and not get behind the eight-ball and have to catch up and chase points. Having that first game be a home game is very important, to set the tone for the rest of the season."
At every Friday night home match in 2020, fans will get to witness an awe-inspiring postgame firework show, beginning with the season opener vs. the El Paso Locomotives. Each Friday Firework series match features pre-match $1 draft beer, some restrictions apply, from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM. Fans interested in attending all five Friday Fireworks matches can purchase the Fireworks Pack here.
"We're ready now," standout midfielder Aodhan Quinn said. "Now that we have all the guys here, training has been intense, but good and most importantly very competitive. Everyone is on the same page and now we just have to get out there and show everybody."
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