Orange County SC Marches On to USL Western Conference Final
Diane Scavuzzo also contributed to this article.
Orange County SC defeated Reno 1868 FC on Saturday night in front of 4,021 supporters at Championship Soccer Stadium to advance to the USL Western Conference Final. Aodhan Quinn scored the lone goal of the match for Orange County SC, which marks his 12th tally of the 2018 USL season.
USL Soccer News: Orange County Soccer Club (OCSC) is headed to the United Soccer League (USL) Western Conference Final following a 1-0 victory over Reno 1868 FC on Saturday night at Championship Soccer Stadium.
“It was such a great feeling when Aodhan scored that goal, it came at a great time,” said Orange County SC head coach Braeden Cloutier.
A great match of strength:
Orange County SC edged out an opponent it had just lost to weeks before. In fact, Orange County SC had not defeated this team during the 2018 USL campaign.
The first meeting between the clubs concluded a 2-2 draw at Championship Soccer Stadium. Reno 1868 FC defeated OCSC, 3-1, two weeks ago at home to close out the regular season.
This was the game that really mattered.
In the third matchup of the year, late fouls and contested referee decisions highlighted an intense night between the Southwest clubs. Both clubs came out of the gates with physicality and pressure as they looked to extend their season another week.
The stats tell the story of a tough contest.
Orange County SC attempted 11 shots while Reno shot 12 times but only 2 were on target. Reno easily won on possession, with 61% of the ownership of the ball to Orange County’s 39% and Reno even edged out OCSC on passes by nearly 100 and earned an 81% accuracy rate to OCSC 70% but the Never-Say-Die spirit of Orange and Black was not to be conquered.
USL Action Recap:
The opener came in the 29th minute from Aodhan Quinn who scored a low left-footed strike from just inside the penalty area. Michael Seaton received a pass following an interception at midfield and played Quinn into the penalty area to beat the Reno goalkeeper to the far post.
Quinn + Seaton = GREAT TOGETHER
OCSC almost extended its lead in the 34th minute when Seaton dribbled down the left flank and played a streaking Thomas Enevoldsen into the box who nearly converted a left-footed shot to the far bottom corner.
The second half of the match was controlled by Reno FC who searched for an equalizer on the road that never came.
Although a free-kick attempt in the 64th minute tested OCSC goalkeeper Andre Rawls, the main source of danger came from crosses and long shots that were either cleared or blocked by the defense. Rawls acknowledged the composure by his teammates to continue to play out the back and maintain possession.
“It was discipline from us and not trying to play anything special,” said Rawls. “Anytime that we can slow it down, get a few touches, switch it to the other side and keep it simple — we’re unstoppable.”
Despite the pressure by Reno, OCSC continued to create opportunities, but a lack of precision prevented the hosts from taking outright control of the match.
In the 70th minute, Quinn chipped a ball between two defenders to OCSC midfielder Christian Duke whose finesse volley attempt inside the penalty area came close but unfortunately went just over the crossbar.
OCSC almost secured the victory with a second goal in the final minute of regulation, but a save from the Reno goalkeeper and a strike that skimmed the post kept the match level.
Orange County closed out the match and advanced to the USL Western Conference finals with a hard-fought home victory.
“It’s a good win,” said Quinn. “Reno is a really, really good team. We knew it was going to be a tough game.”
“It felt great to score,” said Quinn. “Anytime I can contribute and help the team win … there is no better feeling.”
Quinn Earned USLSoccer.com Man of the Match: Quinn produced a tremendous finish for the lone goal of the game and was in the middle for other good Orange County chances as he completed 36 of 47 passes while winning four of six duels overall.
Orange County SC is a special team with a strong chemistry and a winning mentality that is willing to put in the hard work. The USL 34-game season is long and it is important to peak at the right time and build the momentum to make the run for the USL Playoffs.
A great mentor and example of leadership on and off the field, goal scorer Quinn said, “This team is special because of how hard we work for each other. Each training session is so competitive and everybody wants to win so badly, but then when the weekend comes everyone has each other’s back. We trust each other and know what to expect from one another.”
Following the match, OCSC head coach Braeden Cloutier praised Reno 1868 FC for its quality of players and tactics.
“I knew all along that Reno was going to be a difficult opponent,” said Cloutier. “They’re a very good team with very good players. Definitely one of, if not the toughest opponent in our league. They have good rotations in the midfield and up front. They commit a lot of numbers forward, and it becomes really difficult for us to track runs.”
“Such a great feeling when Aodhan scored that goal, it came at a great time,” said Cloutier. “The goal came a bit against the flow of play as they were controlling the possession at that time.”
“Our team that special – we have the ability to adapt to every situation.”
“We have our plan A, plan B, and even a plan C. Whether we have to adjust from one game to another or within a game itself, we have the players who can adapt & never miss a beat,” said Cloutier.
Cloutier, Quinn, and Seaton all signed new contracts with OCSC this month.
OCSC maintains home field advantage as they prepare to host Phoenix Rising FC on Saturday, November 3rd, at Championship Soccer Stadium in Irvine, California.
Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. PT.
OCSC vs Phoenix Rising – This is a game not to be missed.
“This USL season has been a fantastic run and to play the final next Saturday at home is extra special. Our fans have been tremendous this season, especially these past several months,” said Cloutier. “Every game is exciting, high tempo & extremely competitive! I would like to invite all of SoCal, not only Orange County, to come to see the best-kept secret in Southern California.”
“Please join us as we fight to bring home a Western Conference Championship next Saturday!”
Tickets can be purchased here.