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Orange County Soccer Club Secures No. 2 Seed of the USL Playoff Bracket With a 1-0 Victory Over LA Galaxy II

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With a home playoff game on the line, OCSC (15-7-10) defeated LA Galaxy II (11-6-15) with a 1-0 victory at the Dignity Health Sports Park on Saturday, Oct. 30 at 7:30 p.m.

Los Dos had an uphill battle in the last game of the 2021 USL Championship regular season. With a win they would clinch No. 4 and the final playoff spot in the USL Pacific Division; however, a draw or a loss would eliminate them from playoff contention.

LA Galaxy II gave it their all with their season on the line, taking 55% of ball possession, a total of nine corner kicks and 20 shots totals with five on target.

The LA attack started four minutes into the game when 22-year-old forward Preston Judd attempted a right-footed shot from the right side of the box towards the right corner with the assist from midfielder Jorge Hernandez.

However, the shot was blocked by OCSC’s reliable veteran goalkeeper Patrick Rakovsky. He quickly secured an easy corner kick from the Galaxy offense the next play, keeping the score tied at 0-0.

In the seventh minute, OCSC captain defender Michael Orozco fired a pass to forward Ronaldo Damus. Damus headed the ball from the center of the box, but it sailed too high over the crossbar. 

10 minutes later, Los Dos took control once again when Hernandez took a left-footed shot outside the box and missed to the right. 

OCSC quickly countered when forward Sean “Ugo” Okoli took a right-footed shot from outside the box; however, it was a tad too high.

LA Galaxy midfielder Daniel Aguirre had a promising opportunity following a perfectly executed set piece; however, his shot went over the crossbar from right outside the box.

34 minutes into the first half, Los Dos executed another set piece with a cross from midfielder Taylor Davila, but the shot was missed by 18-year-old defender Jalen Neal. 

With the first half ending in a 0-0 draw, Los Dos continued to press on their attack in the second half.

The Galaxy’s attack started as Judd assisted 19-year-old forward Cameron Dunbar, who took a shot right outside the box that was saved by OCSC’s Rakovsky.

Photo Provided by Orange County Soccer Club

In the 52nd minute, Dunbar once again missed a wide right with a right-footed shot assisted by 18-year-old forward Jonathan Pérez from close outside the box.  

Following a corner kick, Pérez tried his luck again with a powerful shot right outside the box; however, it was too high. 

With a few minutes left in the game, Pérez and Davila continued to attack for Los Dos as time was running out, but to no avail. 

With five minutes of stoppage time awarded by the referee, it was OCSC who took advantage in the 94th minute when forward Thomas Enevoldsen took a right-footed shot from the center box for a goal to give OCSC a 1-0 lead.

With one minute left in the game, LA Galaxy tried one last time to tie the game. However, Pérez’s shot assisted by Davila was blocked. 

The game ended with an OCSC victory as they slammed the playoff hopes of Los Dos. OCSC secured the second spot of the division, while LA Galaxy II bid farewell to their season. OCSC will begin the first round of the playoffs at Championship Soccer Stadium in Irvine at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 6. Tickets can be purchased online, and the game will be streamed on ESPN+ and Cox Communications TV.

Marcos Gonzalez is a 2021-2022 Sports Staff Writer. He can be reached at marcosg9@uci.edu.