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OCSC Defeated by SAFC, 1-0

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Orange County Soccer Club (OCSC) (1-2-1) was defeated by San Antonio Football Club (SAFC) (4-0-1), 1-0, at Championship Soccer Stadium in Irvine on April 9. 

The match started out strong for OCSC, as they controlled the ball and created good scoring opportunities. Space was effectively used and passes slowly moved the ball up to the forwards in favorable positions. Star forward Milan Iloski believes that these necessary elements all hinge on tempo.

“When you play with temp and with pace, eventually the other team is going to break,” Iloski said, “but credit to them (SAFC), they didn’t break.”

A vital component for the success of SAFC’s defense in the face of this consistent pressure was their goalie Jordan Farr. Farr’s acrobatic saves wowed the crowd and snuffed out many on target shots.

“[The] goalie played a great game,” Iloski said. “He was really standing on his head there.”

OCSC’s defense was crucially flexible, bending to SAFC’s attacks only to later smother them when space ran thin near the goal. This strategy  was effective all evening until a broken play in the 60th minute.

A rather mundane possession that seemed doomed to peter out, was broken as a few errant kicks from both teams landed it in the middle of the pitch right outside the goalie box. Suddenly OCSC went from having a 3-2 on ball advantage to a one on one dead sprint. 

The ball found its way to the right side just as OCSC’s last defender slipped, leaving San Antonio forward Elliot Collier all alone with Orange County keeper Patrick Rakovsky. A weak kick from Collier ricocheted off the far post and barely angled in for the goal.

While it may seem a flukey goal, OCSC head coach Richard Chaplow believed showed deficient physicality.

“They dominated us physically tonight,” Chaplow said. “We have to get better at playing the winning side of the game and that is the dirty side of the game.” 

Despite the end result, there was a measurable confidence amongst players and staff alike. Rakovsky seemed unbothered by the loss and followed up the night’s defeat by taking pictures with families in the crowd, carrying his young son on a full circuit of the arena. 

Benjamin Hendricks is a 2021-2022 Sports Staff Writer. He can be reached at bahendr1@uci.edu.