Republic FC (1-1-2, 5 pts) fell for the first time in 2020 following a 1-0 defeat to LA Galaxy II in Southern California on Saturday night.
A second half strike from Augustine Williams was the difference in the match despite the boys in Old Glory Red creating more chances, 14-to-4, and outshooting the hosts on the contest, 20-to-8. Winger Sam Werner lead the Indomitable Club with four offensive chances created against the Group B club while Dariusz Formella's five shots were a team-high.
Los Dos created a few opportunities of its own, but SRFC goalkeeper Adam Grinwis made a handful of stellar stops to keep his side in the match and within striking distance of LA. Along with Grinny, the starting eleven and substitutes bench was unchanged from the 1-0 win over regional rivals Reno 1868 FC last Monday night.
Through the early stages of the regular season thus far, the Indomitable Club has registered the most shots taken in the Western Conference with 78 and Rodrigo Lopez’s team-best 10 scoring chances created is currently ranked fourth in the USL Championship. RoRo's 30 crosses are the most in the entire league.
The result left Republic FC still firmly in first place in Group A heading into Wednesday night’s showdown with OCSC. If Cameron Iwasa manages to find the back of the net in the midweek matchup – a feat he’s done a total of five times against the SoCal side including twice the last time Orange County visited the California Capital – he'll be only the ninth player in league history to reach 50 career goals.
Orange County SC (1-0-2, 5 pts) currently sits in fourth place in a competitive Group B but the SoCal club is undefeated on the season through three games – having surrendered just a single goal – and the lone win was against a Phoenix Rising FC squad that shattered most Championship team records in 2019.
On Saturday in Irvine, a first half finish from Ugo Okoli was all it took to triumph over Rising FC and claim all three points for the first-time during USL Championship regular season play this year. Phoenix fell down a man in the 45th minute when Santi Moar was handed a second yellow card and sent off before the break.
Wednesday’s match will be Orange County’s first road trip in 2020 after three straight home games, one of which was able to be played out prior to the pandemic. On March 6, OCSC played out a 0-0 draw against El Paso Locomotive and it would be over four months until the SoCal side would take the pitch again in a competitive match.
When Orange County did finally return to play, Head Coach Braenden Cloutier’s side managed a 1-1 draw against last season’s regular season champions – Rising FC. Phoenix’s Junior Flemmings gave his side the advantage close to the hour mark before Kevin Coleman leveled late to earn his team a point at home.
Having made the postseason in four of the last five years, OCSC is eyeing another playoff run after 2019’s campaign came to an end at the hands of eventual title-winners Real Monarchs. Lead by defender Michael Orozco – a former defender for the U.S. Men’s National Team – and a slew of young talent including Francis Jacobs who at 14 years old is the youngest male professional in American soccer history, Orange County will be a force to be reckoned with in the Western Conference this year.
Republic FC and Orange County have played out some memorable matches with fantastic finishes, but the Indomitable Club has a slight advantage in the all-time series during regular season play with eight wins from 16 encounters. However, in the only postseason meeting between the two California clubs, OCSC prevailed 1-0 in Sacramento back in 2016.
The boys in Old Glory Red swept the two-game regular season series in 2018 – both of which were 1-0 score lines – but Orange County earned a dramatic 3-2 win in Sacramento the last time these two clubs clashed. During SRFC’s heated playoff push in mid-October, Cameron Iwasa put his side ahead 1-0 before Orange County netted two unanswered scores.
Another goal from Iwasa leveled the match at 2-2 before OCSC’s Orozco bagged the game-winner in the 78th minute.
Orange County was hoping to have former Republic FC forward Thomas Enevoldsen leading the frontlines, but the Danish striker is currently in his native country awaiting the birth of his child. Enevoldsen sparked an offensive resurgence when he joined the Indomitable Club midway through the 2019 season, scoring 10 goals including two in the postseason.
Watch the match with fellow Republic FC supporters during the Virtual Watch Party simulcast during the contest. Thirty minutes before kickoff, Live from the Pitch with Connor Sutton – the club’s new pregame show on Facebook – will give fans a new matchday perspective with interviews, Q&A with club insiders, and live look-ins to warm-ups.
During the match, fans can join the club’s virtual watch party simulcast where they can interact with other fans, participate in games and contests, and be features in the club’s match telecast while cheering for the boys in Old Glory Red. Fans are encouraged to wear Republic FC gear and have cameras and sound on.
To join a watch party, fans can RSVP at SacRepublic.com/virtual-watch-parties.
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