Richard Chaplow Takes First Loss As OCSC’s Head Coach As Team Allows Another Late Goal
By Tristan Bonetto – LA Soccer Press
The games could not have started – or ended – worse that it did for Orange County SC in a 2-1 loss to 10-man Phoenix Rising FC Saturday, Sept. 18.
OCSC started on the wrong foot, conceding in the ninth minute when a pass from Solomon Asante found Santiago Moar inside the right edge of the box. Moar took a touch to set up the shot, turned around and sent a laser towards the goal that caught a piece of the right post as it rattled in.
A goal from Moar in the 16th minute was disallowed as Aodhan Quinn was obstructing Patrick Rakovsky’s view of the shot and was in an offsides position. Rising FC players voiced their disagreements about the call, and as the game started again, tensions began to rise.
Tate Schmitt had a reckless challenge on Brian Iloski in the 31st minute as he went in with both feet up as Iloski was catapulted into the air by the foul. The challenge could have easily been an ejection, but the referee gave him a chance with the yellow card. Minutes later, another brash challenge from Schmitt on Ben Mines in the first minute of first-half stoppage saw the defender sent off with a red card after picking up the second yellow.
Orange County got off to a good start in the second half, finding open spaces because of the extra man and in the 47th minute OCSC found the breakthrough after a beautiful curling pass from Iloski found the head of Ronaldo Damus in the middle of the box. Damus sent a laser into the top left corner as it rasped the crossbar.
Head coach Richard Chaplow saw the chance to try and go for the victory with an extra man and made a bold substitution in the 76th minute by taking off holding midfielder Dillon Powers for the attacking-minded Thomas Enevoldsen. In the short time that the forward was on the field, Enevoldsen had little impact, and Rising FC took advantage of the defensive vulnerability of OCSC.
In the 85th minute Aodhan Quinn threaded a pass past three OCSC defenders, and Rakovsky was left defenseless only to watch Darren Mattocks tap in the winning goal.
OCSC isn’t new to losing to a team with 10 players. The club sustained a 2-1 defeat away at San Diego Loyal SC earlier in September, after going up one only to let its lead slip away in just under three minutes. Braeden Cloutier was still the head coach at the time.
OCSC thought its had learned a lesson, but it seems not so much.
Instead of salvaging the point, OCSC comes home empty-handed, letting Rising FC increase its lead at the top the Pacific Division to a whopping 19 points. With the result, OCSC sits at 2nd place (9-8-7, 34 points), one point ahead of San Diego Loyal SC (10-9-4, 34 pts), which has a game in hand. However, with only eight games left to play, OCSC has some work ahead to qualify for the playoffs.
OCSC’s next game will be at Championship Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 25, against Oakland Roots SC. OCSC will be looking to increase its record against Roots SC to 3-0-0, having won the two previous meetings this season.
Bonetto is a student at CSU Long Beach. He covers Orange County SC for LA Soccer Press.