Orange County Fall to Republic FC
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - OC wasted no time getting into the match, with Darwin Jones quickly finding space in the box, picking a spot in the bottom right corner and forcing Rafael DÃaz into an early save. Two minutes later, Ugo Okoli managed to hold off his mark and in a last-ditch effort, the striker found the other corner to give OC an early lead.
Sacramento took a chance from distance a few moments later, but Ashkanov Apollon's shot carried wide of the post.
Both teams looked to settle into the match from then on, but it was clear that the match would be a physical affair with 10 fouls in the opening 20 minutes.
Sacramento looked to break following an Orange County set piece, but Dariusz Formella sent his shot well over the crossbar. OC attacked quickly from the restart and quickly found themselves with an opportunity on goal, but Brian Iloski was wrong-footed and couldn't double the lead.
Republic FC continued to build into the match, creating a handful of chances in their attacks. Aaron Cervantes left his mark on the match just 30 minutes in, denying Cameron Iwasa in a one-on-one.
Aodhan Quinn was booked for a push in the 33rd minute, but Sacramento was unable to convert from the ensuing set piece.
As the first half ran to a close, both teams had opportunities in dangerous spots, but both defenses charged down shots. Following two added minutes, OC went into the half with a lead.
The pace of the game didn't change in the second half. Formella quickly earned a yellow card just three minutes into the half for a challenge on Iloski. Two minutes after, Cervantes made his second massive save of the night, denying Kharlton Belmar from close range.
Orange County responded with attacking movement of their own, with Aodhan Quinn nearly scoring on the half-volley just a few moments later. Jones and Okoli had chances of their own, but DÃaz continued to make saves for the hosts.
Rodrigo LÃ³pez earned a straight red card in the 58th minute after the midfielder kicked Jones to prevent a breakaway.
Despite the sending off, physicality continued as Seth Casiple bowled over Formella. Sacramento was denied by Cervantes on the ensuing free kick at the hour mark.
Danny Finlayson had a left-footed effort from distance saved by DÃaz in the 67th minute. Seconds later, Danny Crisostomo then came on for Orange County, replacing Casiple after 67 minutes.
Despite the man disadvantage, Republic FC continued to look for an equalizer. OC looked to exploit the space behind through Okoli and Jones.
Cammy Palmer was booked after a push on Jordan McCrary in the 72nd minute.
During the second hydration break, Chandler Hoffman and Kevin Alston came on for Jones and Kobi Henry, with Finlayson slotting over into his natural position as a center back.
OC remained comfortable out of possession and defended within their own half, forcing Republic FC to commit numbers forward. The hosts got their reward moments later as Belmar's shot was deflected off of Formella and past the diving Cervantes.
Edson Alvarado came on as the final substitute for Orange County, replacing Palmer.
OC continued to attack in the final 10 minutes, but DÃaz made his third save of the match to deny Okoli an instant response. The attacking play continued, with OC moving the ball in possession in an effort to create space in the opposition half.
Against the run of play, Villyan Bijev beat Cervantes at the near post and gave the hosts the lead. OC pushed forward desperately with three minutes remaining, but despite five minutes of added time couldn't find an equalizer.
Despite the second consecutive loss, OC remain in third place, level with second-placed LA Galaxy II on points. Five matches remain in 2020.
5' 1-0: Ugo Okoli
79': 1-1: Dariusz Formella (Kharlton Belmar)
87': 1-2: Villyan Bijev (Jaime Villareal)
33': (OC) Aodhan Quinn (yellow)
48': (SAC) Dariusz Formella (yellow)
58': (SAC) Rodrigo LÃ³pez (red)
72': (OC) Cammy Palmer (yellow)
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