Frustrating Night for OCFC [Video]

by Art Eftekhari

orange county fc unable to find winning goal on the road

Temecula, CA – Everyone knows that wins do not come easy in the NPSL, but this is especially true when trying to get a win on the road.

It was a cold and windy night and OCFC was hoping to get off to a good start and set the tone early on Saturday night against Temecula FC, but instead it was the home side taking an early lead.

Three minutes into the match, OCFC had an excellent opportunity to open up the scoring after a nice run and cross from Dakota Collins on the right side, but Jose Montes de Oca misjudged the ball and his shot went right to Temecula keeper Ben Chamberlin.

One minute later Temecula took the lead through Andrew Hernandez – former member of OCFC – after he finished off a cross from left winger Joey Ciochetto.

A defensive breakdown enabled the speedy Ciochetto to get into the penalty area as he tight-roped along the touchline and sent his pass to a wide-open Hernandez in front of the net, leaving keeper Mark Aguilar helpless.

Brandon Gomez did not start in goal on Saturday night due to unspecified reasons and that meant Mark Aguilar would have to be on top of his game to help OCFC stay in the game.

OCFC kept up the pressure throughout the first half and would not be deterred or rattled by falling behind early.

But captain Michael Bryant picked up a yellow card for dissent was subbed out for Daniel ten Bosch in the 31st minute.

Out of nowhere in the 38th minute, keeper Mark Aguilar came off his line for a routine clearance and his long ball carried in the wind and found striker Jose Montes de Oca all by himself.

The Temecula back-line was asking for offside, but the linesman kept his flag down.

Playing like the experienced veteran that he is, Montes easily put his shot past Chamberlin to tie the score and earn his second goal of the 2018 season.

Mark Aguilar was not expected to start, but getting his name on the stat sheet was definitely the highlight of his night.

"Coach Paul told me to be looking for Cody, Dakota, and Chila if we had the wind in our favor," Aguilar said.

"That's how Chila plays, he loves getting the long balls to be one on one with the goalkeeper."

The timing of the goal for OCFC was perfect and the momentum had swung. Temecula started off as the better side, but OCFC regrouped and was finally rewarded with the equalizer.

After the break, Paul Caligiuri made more changes by bringing on Brandon Gomez to replace Mark Aguilar and English midfielder Reece Alexander made his NPSL debut as he replaced Jonny Romero.

OCFC picked up from where it left off and continued the pressure in the second half.

But for some reason, it seemed like it would be one of those nights where it would be difficult to find that winning goal.

Temecula native Dakota Collins was looking to add to the three goals he scored one week earlier and late in the second half after a scramble in the Temecula FC penalty area, Collins’ shot got past Chamberlin, but right back Emilio Bunnel made an amazing sliding kick save just in front of the goal line to keep score at 1-1.

It was a physical match on Saturday night and it comes as no surprise considering that last year’s meeting in Temecula ended in a tough 2-2 draw.

Temecula striker Teague Anderson had a low shot from outside the penalty area that came dangerously close and later in the match he appeared to have the perfect opportunity to score the winning goal, but he was denied after an excellent slide tackle from center back Josh Davis.

Frustration took place on the sidelines as well as OCFC striker Jose Montes was given a straight red card.

Fortunately for OCFC, the red card was given after Montes was subbed out for Brazilian striker Guilherme, but the sending off means that Montes de Oca will be suspended for the next game.

Dakota Collins had another great opportunity to give OCFC the lead, but Ben Chamberlin came out to no-man’s land to make an excellent save.

Minutes continued to tick away and late in the match it was Reece Alexander who had a point-blank opportunity in front of the Temecula net.

But this was not to be OCFC’s night as Alexander misjudged the cross and his shot went agonizingly wide.

The home crowd appeared to be very satisfied with another 1-1 draw, but for OCFC it was a frustrating night that resulted in two dropped points.