OCFC defeat Albion 3-1 in Western Quarterfinals [Video]

by Art Eftekhari

orange county fc secures dramatic 3-1 victory over albion soccer club

San Diego, CA – It has been an interesting season for Paul Caligiuri and Orange County Football Club.

One month ago, it appeared as if OCFC was ready to clinch the NPSL Southwest. But a loss at home to FC Golden State followed by dropped points at Riverside meant OCFC would finish third in the division.

On Saturday June 7, OCFC travelled down Interstate 5 to face division winners Albion SC. The hosts were determined to get some revenge after losing both meetings during the regular season.

After a scoreless first half, Albion took the lead off a deflection through last year’s joint Golden Boot winner Amani Walker.

But it didn’t take long for OCFC to equalize as Jose “Chila” Montes de Oca leveled the score two minutes later.

Right before the hour mark, Daniel Crisostomo put OCFC in the lead when he scored from the penalty spot.

Both teams traded possession as minutes ticked away. But with nine minutes remaining, Albion was awarded a penalty after an apparent handball.

Amani Walker stepped up to take the kick but was denied by keeper Brandon Gomez. 

OCFC fans have become accustomed to seeing Gomez come up with clutch saves, but this time it seemed as though he might have known something.

"I didn't know where the ball was going but I felt pretty confident when the penalty was awarded," Gomez said. 

"I don't think a penalty should have been called and the ball never lies. I was able to keep it out with my foot."

The home crowd was stunned, and the Albion fans would see their season finished minutes later when Dakota Collins scored the clincher to give OCFC a 3-1 lead.

This is the second consecutive season that OCFC has been unable to come away with a division title. But last year OCFC won two playoff games and this time Paul Caligiuri's men are hungry for more.