Playoff-bound Republic FC lost to Orange County SC 3-2 Saturday night at Papa Murphy’s Park but, despite the loss, the club can still potentially host at least one more match at home this season.
Following the result, the Indomitable Club currently sits in sixth place with 48 points from 33 games played. If the season were to end today, the sixth place team would have to travel to the club in possession of third place, which is currently Fresno. But with one match remaining, SRFC could end up as high as fifth place or as low as ninth. Either way, the boys in Old Glory Red are still headed to the postseason.
Simon Elliott’s men took the early lead in the sixth minute when Thomas Enevoldsen weaved a perfect through ball to Cameron Iwasa in space. The Sacramento native collected himself and danced around the goalkeeper before firing his shot into an empty net to give Republic FC the 1-0 advantage.
Orange County equalized 10 minutes later when forward Darwin Jones bagged his 12th goal of the season. Goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth made a terrific diving save to prevent a Walker Hume header from finding the back of the net, but the save fell straight to Jones who tapped his first touch home.
The visitors doubled their lead in the 26th minute when a Vinicius header off a Michael Orozco cross gave OCFC the 2-1 advantage. Orozco blindly rifled the ball over his shoulder and into the middle of the box. Vinicius was in the right place at the right time and nodded his shot into the far corner.
But the boys in Old Glory Red weren’t finished yet. Midfielder Sam Werner tried a one-timer from just inside the box, which bounced its way toward goal before Enevoldsen attempted to get a touch on it. The dummy touch threw off the visiting goalkeeper and allowed the ball to slip through his grasp. Iwasa, barreling into the box, slammed his shot from point blank into the back of the net to tie the match, 2-2. The goal was Iwasa’s 16th strike in league play this season.
Republic FC thought they took the lead off a free kick with about a quarter hour left to play before the referee called the goal back for offside.
Moments later, it was the visitors who captured the lead off a corner kick. The corner met Aodhan Quinn in the middle of the box whose header fell directly to Orozco in front of net. The forward’s shot from close range was ultimately the difference in the match.
Before the boys in Old Glory Red begin their 2019 USL playoff campaign, one final regular season game awaits them in Utah against Real Monarchs on Saturday, Oct. 19.