Late Goal from Yo Secures Win for OCFC [Video]

by Art Eftekhari

orange county fc earn 3-2 victory over oxnard guerreros fc on cinco de mayo

Oxnard, CA – In a pretty similar fashion to one week earlier, Orange County FC got off to a fast start on Saturday evening in Oxnard but had to score late in what turned out to be an exciting and suspenseful game.

OCFC got off to a perfect start when Cody Shelton put his side in the lead in the seventh minute of play.

The opportunity was created by the ball distribution skills of keeper Brandon Gomez. At the same venue one year ago, Gomez earned an assist on a goal scored by Canale.

This time Gomez’s long ball found Canale and the dominant striker made a nice run into the penalty area before his crossed was finished off nicely by midfielder Shelton.

The pressure continued from OCFC when Canale had an excellent chance in front of the Oxnard goal, but his shot bounced off the post.

Minutes later OCFC kept up the pressure and a laser-shot from Armando Flores hit the cross bar.

Oxnard couldn’t clear the ball and was made to pay for its sloppy defending when Dakota Collins’ shot beat keeper Angel Cervantes but bounced off the post first before going into the net to give OCFC a 2-0 lead.

It was Collins’ sixth goal of the season and third in the last two games as Orange County FC looked good going into the halftime locker room.

But the second was a different story and it was noticeable that Oxnard Guerreros stepped up the intensity with physical play and better ball movement.

Five minutes after the restart Oxnard was awarded a free kick just outside the OCFC penalty area after a foul was committed by substitute Jonny Romero.

The freekick from Moises Orozco was headed in by Pablo Alaniz and the home crowd finally had something to cheer about as the lead was cut to 2-1.

Immediately after the goal it was evident that Oxnard had kicked up the pressure and continued to play hard in front of its home supporters.

But the physical play did cause tempers to flare right before the hour mark when some tussling resulted in a quick shoving match between Alessandro Canale and Oxnard center-back Cameron DeJong.

Canale and DeJong both received yellow cards.

OCFC attempted to stem the tide, but sloppy play in the midfield was making the job difficult.

In the 69th minute, captain Michael Bryant’s poor clearance went to right-back Watson Berreman and the ensuing cross into the penalty area was headed home beautifully by Moises Orozco to level the score at 2-2.

The goal for Orozco was his third of the season and he was having an excellent second half with a goal and assist.

It came as no surprise considering Orozco once had a spell overseas in the Armenian Premier League with Ararat Yerevan.

Orange County FC head coach made changes with his midfield by bringing on Nathan Yepez and Kevin Jeon for Michael Bryant and Connor Gordon.

Oxnard was in no mood to lose its fourth straight meeting to OCFC, but how would the latter find a way to score when all the momentum was with the home side?

Winger Kevin Jeon had only been on the field for two minutes when he received a pass from Jonny Romero down the left side.

Jeon used his speed and technique to create space and his pass got to right-back Daniel Yo as OCFC was on the attack.

Yo took a shot from outside the penalty area, but a dummy from Dakota Collins disrupted keeper Cervantes and the ball found its way into the far corner to give OCFC the crucial 3-2 lead with ten minutes remaining.

What a perfect time for Daniel Yo to score his first ever goal for Orange County FC.

“Daniel Yo proved his competitive edge by getting into the attack from an outside back position when the game was tied and on the line,” Paul Caligiuri said.

“This spirit is the culture of OCFC.”

Caligiuri made more substitutions with time winding down in an attempt to bring on more fresh legs to preserve the victory and one of those substitutions was South Korean midfielder Kim Gi-bae, who made his debut appearance in the NPSL.

Four minutes remained on the clock when Oxnard was awarded a freekick in a dangerous position.

The spot kick from Moises Orozco was crossed into the penalty area, but center-back Erik Mueller climbed high to head the ball out to safety like he had been doing all night.

Minutes later a cross from second half substitute Raul Gonzalez nearly found Moises Orozco, but the ball was a little too high and went out of bounds for a goal kick.

The pressure continued from Oxnard into stoppage time, but OCFC was able to hold on for the 3-2 victory.

After seven games played this season, OCFC has four wins and three ties. There were times when OCFC looked unorganized on the field, but they found a way to win.

Orange County FC is unbeaten, but adjustments need to be made and they need to be made quickly ahead of the U.S. Open Cup starting on Wednesday May 9.