Orange County FC celebrates after their 2019 US Open Cup Second Round match against Orange County SC. OCFC won 5-3 in PKs after a 2-2 draw to become just the 5th NPSL team to upset a pro team. Photo: Glenn Feingerts
In the inaugural “Is it soccer or football?” derby, Orange County Football Club of the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) eliminated Orange County Soccer Club in a penalty kick shootout to advance to the Third Round of the 2019 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.
Orange County SC, a professional side competing in the USL Championship, seemed to be on their way with a Third Round date with the Las Vegas Lights. OCSC had a 2-1 lead heading into second half stoppage time but a Ryan Holland goal two minutes into stoppage time sent the game into extra time.
After a scoreless 30 minutes of extra time, Orange County FC goalkeeper David Preys capped off an exceptional performance with a save in the opening round of the penalty kick shootout. That stop would prove to be crucial as OCFC would convert all five of their attempts to punch their ticket to Round 3 for the first time in club history.
OCFC manager and former US international Paul Caligiuri was over the moon about his team’s performance.
“We conceded an unfortunate goal in the first half but we were able to come back and tie it,” said Caligiuri. “The fans enjoyed it and the players never gave up. Then we went down 2-1 late in the game and we tie it 2-2. It think it shows a lot of character of what we stand for … we showed the will, drive, and the never-say-die attitude and it paid off today.”
At the start of the first half, OCSC controlled much of the play. They were composed on the ball and the away side struggled to get it.
The OCSC struck first in the 14th minute as OCFC centerback Joshua Davis headed it into his own goal.
OCSC still controlled the match after the goal, but OCFC started to find their footing by disrupting play in midfield. OCFC would get the equalizer in the 28th minute against the run of play as Aaron Cervantes was forced to make a save on a 2-on-1 situation, but forward Dakota Collins hit home the rebound.
OCSC had two good chances to re-take the lead, but OCFC keeper David Preys was up to the task. He denied forward Jerry van Wolfgang from six yards out and parried away a shot outside of the 18-yard box.
OCSC made an offensive change bringing on Harry Forrester for Charlie Adams at the start of halftime. The English international would make his presence felt moments later as he forced Preys into another brilliant save in the 48th minute.
OCSC then put Brazilian upstart Vinicius on to add more attacking options, subbing off Danny Chrisostomo.
Van Wolfgang put in a threatening cross and midfielder Aodhan Quinn hit his shot just wide of the far post. He also forced a deflection in the 72nd minute.
The “SC” appeared to take the lead off of a corner kick, but it was ruled offside.
The away side, “FC”, were hanging onto dear life as Darwin Jones had a shot cleared off of the line in the 75th minute. Jones then missed an open goal chance as he shot it over the bar. Moments later, in the 85th minute, Jones broke the deadlock as he chipped it over Preys to make it 2-1.
But there was a sudden twist to the tale.
Near the end of second half stoppage time, OCFC forward Ryan Holland tied it up with a header in the box to make it 2-2.
The score would stay the same at full time.
In extra time, both teams gave each other no quarter as they fought for the go-ahead goal.
OCSC had majority of the chances as few shots were close to the goal line, but were caught or cleared off of the line.
The match went to penalties.
OCSC’s Aodhan Quinn had his team’s opening penalty kick saved by Preys and that proved to be the difference as OCFC converted all of their attempts to advance.
In addition to the deciding save, Preys put together a man of the match level performance by making eight saves in the game.
“[Preys] is without a doubt our MVP of the last two games,” said Caligiuri. “He was the hero versus Golden State Force and tonight, he’s the hero again. He was a huge pickup for us and we are very fortunate to have him.”
For Caligiuri, he is looking forward to leading his team against his former teammate in Eric Wynalda, head coach of the Las Vegas Lights.
“Eric is a competitor,” said Galigiuri. “He was a phenomenal player and a wonderful coach and we know what it means to these guys and what it means to the Las Vegas Lights.”t