Galaxy Hold on for 3-2 Win over OCFC

by Art Eftekhari

orange county fc puts up a valiant effort in close loss to la galaxy

Carson, CA - It is only preseason, but the friendly against LA Galaxy on March 5 was highly anticipated by the entire Orange County FC organization. 

In a way it seemed unreal that a team from the NPSL was taking on the most successful franchise of Major League Soccer, but once the whistle blew it was business as usual for both teams. 

Right from the start it was the Galaxy dominating possession and controlling the flow of the game. 

Center back Tomas Hilliard-Arce gave the Galaxy a 1-0 lead in the twelfth minute of play after finishing off a cross in the OCFC penalty area and ten minutes later it was Ariel Lassiter who doubled the lead to 2-0.

The fans in attendance were probably thinking that the flood gates had opened, but OCFC tightened up on defense and refused to let the game turn into a blowout. 

In the 29th minute, goalkeeper Brandon Gomez was called into action and made an excellent save to prevent the Galaxy from extending the lead.

The pressure continued from the Galaxy and after a corner kick that went right to Gomez, the talented keeper wasted no time and sent his kick toward the center circle.

Striker Jose "Chila" Montes de Oca timed his run perfectly and found himself one on one with keeper Justin vom Steeg.

Chila's shot beat vom Steeg, but the shot went wide. Much to the dismay of Montes and the rest of the OCFC squad.

Minutes later after some good ball movement, winger Dakota Collins found himself in the Galaxy penalty area and his pass was finished off by Chila to cut the lead to 2-1.

Montes made amends for his missed opportunity earlier and suddenly OCFC found themselves back in the game. 

The OCFC fans in attendance were delighted and had every reason to be because their favorite team had just scored a goal on the five-time MLS Cup winners.

It was only fitting that the goal was created by two players that have professional soccer experience on their resumes.

Montes once plied his trade in the top flight of Mexican soccer with Leon and Collins played professionally for Sacramento Republic of the United Soccer League.

The score remained 2-1 as the first half concluded, but OCFC definitely had confidence going into the second half.

Three minutes before the hour mark, the Galaxy players were unable to clear an OCFC corner kick and substitute Nathan Yepez's shot from outside the penalty area deflected into the net past a diving Brian Silvestre.

Who would have believed it? The score was now 2-2 and the LA Galaxy was caught in a battle with Orange County FC.

The 2-2 score lasted only fifteen minutes as the LA Galaxy retook the lead. It was tough to fall behind again, but OCFC continued to look for another equalizer.

Minutes remained on the clock and a cross into the Galaxy penalty area found a diving Josh Davis, but the center back's header went over the net.

Davis' header turned out to be the last opportunity and the LA Galaxy held on for a 3-2 victory.

But the OCFC players put in an excellent performance against the Galaxy and had every reason to keep their heads up as they made their supporters proud.

"It was a great experience," goalkeeper Brandon Gomez said. 

"When you let in three goals it sounds bad, but I still felt I did well. We were able to keep up and play at a high level."

It would have been amazing to find a way to win, but the performance against the Galaxy can serve as a warning to the rest of the NPSL that Orange County FC is a quality team ready to dominate and build on its success from last season.