Christopher Santana Named to USL PRO Team of the Week

Image

Blues forward Christopher Santana was named to this week’s USL PRO Team of the Week. The Bishop, California native made his professional debut on Thursday, 4/24 vs Harrisburg, and scored twice in the first half. Forward Chris Cortez and defender Rauwshan McKenzie were also recognized by the league, named Honorable Mention. The full release from USL PRO is below.

USL PRO News Release

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

TAMPA, Fla. – USL PRO named its Team of the Week for Week 6 of the 2014 season on Tuesday and Orlando City midfielder Kevin Molino was named Player of the Week after he scored three goals in two games as the Lions took a pair of victories on the road.

Molino, the 2012 USL PRO Most Valuable Player, scored twice as the Lions took a 3-2 victory against the FC Dallas Reserves last Tuesday night. After fellow Team of the Week selection Adama Mbengue opened the scoring, Molino added his side’s second with a good near-post finish from a cross from the left. Molino added a second which proved to be the game-winner soon after Dallas had cut the Lions’ lead in half.

Molino also scored what proved to be the game-winning goal in the Lions’ win on Saturday night, with his finish from an acute angle after he had rounded OKC Energy FC goalkeeper Jon Kempin the Lions’ second in a 2-1 victory.

In addition to Molino and Mbengue, Harrisburg’s Matt Bahner and Arizona’s Paolo DelPiccolo earned selection to the Team of the Week midfield. Bahner played a key role for the City Islanders as they took a 2-1 win against Sacramento on Saturday, holding possession well before he switched to center back for the final 20 minutes following an injury and helped his side hold onto victory.

DelPiccolo, meanwhile, scored his first professional goal to earn United a 1-1 draw with the LA Galaxy II Friday night. The former River City Rovers player finished well after a good buildup to tie the game with just over 20 minutes to play.

The Team of the Week’s attack is led by Richmond’s Matt Delicâte, who had a pair of goals in his side’s 5-1 victory against Dayton. Orange County’s Christopher Santana also had a pair of goals in his professional debut as the Blues took victory against Harrisburg Thursday, while Rochester’s JC Banks earned selection after he scored in each of the Rhinos’ two wins last week.

Banks was joined on the Team of the Week by rookie goalkeeper John McCarthy, who recorded his first two shutouts as the Rhinos defeated the Chicago Fire Reserves and Charleston Battery. A standout for Reading United and the Ocean City Nor’easters in the PDL, McCarthy was excellent as the Rhinos moved into fifth place in the USL PRO standings.

The LA Galaxy II’s Rafael Garcia led a trio of defenders selected as he scored an outstanding free kick goal and helped control Orange County’s attack in a 3-0 victory on Sunday. He was joined by Charlotte’s J.J. Greer, who was central to the Eagles’ 2-0 shutout of the Wilmington Hammerheads on Saturday, and William Yomby, who led from the back in Richmond’s win against Dayton.

The 2014 USL PRO season continues on Friday night as the Richmond Kickers host the Rochester Rhinos at 7 p.m. ET, with both teams looking to build on positive results this past weekend. Also on Friday, the Harrisburg City Islanders host the Charleston Battery at 7 p.m. ET with the Battery still looking for their first win of the season.

Saturday night brings a pair of intriguing west-coast contests as Arizona United SC hosts the Charlotte Eagles at 10 p.m. ET and Sacramento Republic FC hosts the Orange County Blues FC at 10:30 p.m. ET. The weekend concludes with a rematch between Orlando City and OKC Energy FC at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex on Sunday night at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Every game of the 2014 USL PRO season can be seen live on YouTube, with live updates also available via Twitter (@USLPRO), Facebook and Google+. Stay up to date with news, previews and match reports from throughout the league via USLPROSoccer.com.

USL PRO Team of the Week

Honorable Mention – Arizona: Evan Newton, Brandon Swartzendruber; Charleston: Odisnel Cooper, Zach Prince; Charlotte: Jorge Herrera, Brock Duckworth; Dayton: Jesjua Cruyff, Shintaro Harada; Harrisburg: Robbie Derschang, Morgan Langley; LA Galaxy II: Travis Bowen, Alejandro Covarrubias; Oklahoma City: Steven Perry, Cyprian Hedrick; Orange County: Chris Cortez, Rauwshaun McKenzie; Orlando: Dennis Chin, Yordany Alvarez; Pittsburgh: Michael Lisch, Anthony Obodai; Richmond: Shay Spitz, George Davis IV; Rochester: Minh Vu, Pat McMahon; Sacramento:Adam Jahn, Max Alvarez; Wilmington: Ashani Fairclough, Tom Parratt.

LA Galaxy II Tops OC Blues FC, 3-0

Image

BY: Herceny Del Cid
@herceny

IRVINE, CA (April 27, 2014)- The Orange County Blues suffered their worst defeat of the season, falling to the LA Galaxy II 3-0 in front of 913 fans at Anteater Stadium.

The first half hour was evenly played, but the tide turned in the 33rd minute when Rauwshan McKenzie conceded a free kick right at the top of the box. Rafael Garcia stepped up and curled a free kick over the wall and beyond the reach of Blues’ keeper Mohammad Mohammadi.

From then on it was all Los Dos, taking the lion’s share of possession.

The Galaxy II were rewarded for their dominance in the 50th minute as Kenney Walker slid the ball through for Travis Bowen who had outwitted the offside trap. Bowen calmly stroked home his first goal of the season.

Gyasi Zardes completed the victory in the 65th minute. Breaking in two on three, Zardes was given space to run at the gap as the Blues defense kept backing off. The second-year-man took the space and fired the ball into Mohammadi’s bottom left hand corner.

The Blues’ misery was compounded in the 76th minute as right back Mershad Momeni was shown his second yellow card.

From  there on out it was a training exercise for Los Dos passing the ball around until the clock hit 90.

The good news for Orange County is that the boys in blue won’t see the LA Galaxy II until July 26th. It won’t get any easier, however, for the Blues, who travel to Sacramento to face a Republic FC side that had over 20,000 fans at its first home match.

The Blues will set off to their first true road trip against Sacramento Republic FC on May 3rd at 7:30P.M. P.T.

Orange County returns home on May 8th to face last season’s runners up, the Charlotte Eagles. For best pricing on seat packages, call (714) 738-8011, email seats@bluessoccerclub.com, visit www.ocbluesfc.com, or hashtag #myocblues for more information.

If you can’t make it to the match, you can watch the live stream online, thanks to a new partnership between USL PRO and YouTube. OC Blues FC v Republic FC will be streamed live, for free, via the Sacramento Republic FC YouTube channel (youtube.com/sacrepublicfc)

 

Blues Face LA Galaxy II in Third Southern California Showdown

Image

By Jake Schwartz
@jakeschwartz1

IRVINE, CA. – Orange County Blues FC will face LA Galaxy II for the third time this season on Sunday, April 27th at UC Irvine’s Anteater Stadium, with kickoff scheduled for 4PM P.T.

In LA Galaxy II’s inaugural season, “Los Dos” has a record of 3-1-2 after drawing with Arizona United 1-1 on Friday night. OC Blues FC and LA Galaxy II have squared off twice already this season. On March 22nd, the first day of the 2014 USL PRO season, LA was victorious over Orange County, 3-1 at StubHub Center in Carson. Three weeks later on April 19th, the Southern California rivals met again at StubHub Center, and the result was the same, a 3-1 victory for LA.

Orange County is coming off a triumphant win against Harrisburg City Islanders on Thursday night. With the second loss to LA still fresh in their minds, the Blues came out with a charge against the side from the Pennsylvania capital. Former UC Irvine soccer standout Christopher Santana made his professional debut on his home field, not skipping a beat from his college career. The younger Santana brother scored two goals in the first half, and Chris Cortez added two of his own in the second half to lead the Blues to their second victory of the season, 4-1.

Even though Orange County has seen “Los Dos” twice before, the third matchup will still be a tough task. LA forward Charlie Rugg has been a thorn in the Blues’ side, scoring in both previous matches. 19-year-old phenom Jack McBean came on as a substitute in the second half of the April 19th tilt, and immediately made an impact, assisting on two goals. Forward Chandler Hoffman leads LA with three goals scored on the season.

After this match, Orange County will make their first true road trip of the season, traveling north to Sacramento for a match on May 3rd at Hughes Stadium. The Blues return home five days later for a Thursday night matchup vs Charlotte Eagles on May 8th.  LA Galaxy II has eight days off until their next match, at home against Charlotte Eagles on May 5th, before traveling east to play Dayton Dutch Lions at the opening of their new home venue, DOC Stadium, on May 10th.

Tickets at the gate for Sunday’s match vs LA Galaxy II will be $15. OC Blues FC is also offering 2-pack tickets to Sunday’s match against Galaxy II and the next home match vs Charlotte Eagles on May 8th for $20 at the gate (regularly $30). For best pricing on seat packages, call (714) 738-8011, email seats@bluessoccerclub.com, visit www.ocbluesfc.com, or hashtag #myocblues for more information.

If you can’t make it to the match, you can watch the live stream online, thanks to a new partnership between USL PRO and YouTube. OC Blues FC v LA Galaxy II will be streamed live, for free, via the OC Blues FC YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/user/OCBluesFC).

 

OC Blues FC Cruises Past Harrisburg City Islanders, 4-1.

Image

By: Marc Serber
@soccerserber

IRVINE, Ca (April 24, 2014)- The Orange County Blues ran rampant with a 4-1 victory over the Harrisburg City Islanders in front of 616 fans at Anteater Stadium.

Christopher “Chino” Santana and Chris Cortez recorded braces either side of half time.

The first goal came after just six minutes as Gabriel Gonzalez played the ball through for Santana to curl home his first professional goal.

Santana was at it again in the 25th minute as Allan Russell shot was tipped by Harrisburg goal-keeper  Nick Noble right into his path for an easy tap in at the back post.

Harrisburg found a lifeline two minutes before halftime. Christian Hernandez was fouled just outside the box. The Philadelphia Union loanee picked himself up and struck a deceptive a free kick that outwitted Mohammad Mohamadi.

Both teams came flying out of the gates in the second half. Yann Ekra was very dangerous for the City Islanders as he looked to connect with Clesio Bauque. Harrisburg’s attacks were repelled time and time again as Rauwshan McKenzie, playing his first game on loan from the Portland Timbers, kept the backline compact and organized.

The second half, though, belonged to Cortez. The forward came in towards the tail end of the first half in place of defender Seth Moses who limped off with a hamstring injury.

Cortez came to life in the 74th minute as he climbed highest to head home a corner kick from substitute Mohammad Roknipur.

With the visitors pressing to get back into the game, Orange County ended the match as a contest three minutes from time. Cesar Rivera broke down the left flank on the counter attack and pulled the ball across goal. The ball took a deflection off a Harrisburg defender and deflected over a diving Noble. Cortez, was on hand at the back post to tap in the games final goal.

The Blues improved to 2-3-0 on the season and look to get to .500 on Sunday when the LA Galaxy II make the short trip across the Orange Curtain.

Kick-off is set for 4 P.M. P.T.. This is the first meeting between the rivals at Anteater Stadium. After two losses at StubHub Center against LA, the Blues will be extra motivated to claw back in the series in front of the home crowd.

Its time for Orange County to show their support and make noise for the Blues. Join your OC Blues this Sunday against their rival. For best pricing on seats call (714) 738-8011, email seats@bluessoccerclub.com, visit www.ocbluesfc.com or hashtag #myocblues for more information.

If you can’t make it to the game, you may watch the live stream online, thanks to a new partnership between USL PRO and YouTube. OC Blues FC v LA Galaxy II will stream live, for free, via the OC Blues FC official YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/OCBluesFC).

OC Blues FC Acquires Rauwshan McKenzie on Loan from Portland Timbers

Image

BY: Herceny Del Cid
@herceny

IRVINE, CA (April 24, 2014)- The Orange County Blues Football Club has acquired defender Rauwshan McKenzie on loan from Portland Timbers.

McKenzie, 27, a Major League Soccer (MLS) veteran, was selected in the fourth round of the 2008 MLS SuperDraft by the then Kansas City Wizards, and made his Major League Soccer debut in 2009. The Michigan State graduate is in his 7th MLS season, having also played with Real Salt Lake and making 20 appearances with Chivas USA. McKenzie joined Portland Timbers in May, 2013, and will help bolster the Blues defense while on loan to Orange County.

“We are excited to have Rauwshan here to help strengthen our defense. He brings experience to our backline and has the speed, technical ability and tactical understanding to improve our team,” said OC Blues General Manager Jon Spencer.

McKenzie is one of three players who have joined the Blues on loan this 2014 USL PRO season. Taylor Peay and Schillo Tshuma joined Orange County on loan before the first home match on April 5th.

Ntokozo “Schillo” Tshuma, 25, has been recalled back to Portland after his professional debut with the Blues. The Bulawayo, Zimbabwe native was selected No. 17 overall pick by the Timbers in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft after two collegiate seasons with the University of Maryland. Tshuma, made his professional debut on April 5th for Orange County, playing 74 minutes and recording two shots against OKC Energy FC, and received an Honorable Mention on the USL PRO Team of the Week for Week 3.

Taylor Peay, 24, was selected by the Timbers with the No. 26 overall pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft following his collegiate career at the University of Washington. The Salt Lake City, Utah native made his professional debut on April 5, playing the full 90 minutes against OKC Energy FC.

Spencer is happy with the arrangement with Portland: “We are excited to benefit from having a good relationship with the Portland Timbers. They have been very helpful in providing us with the players we need.”

The Orange County Blues invite you to support these young men as they excel in their professional soccer career. The Blues kickoff tonight against Harrisburg City Islanders at 7:30PM at UC Irvine’s Anteater Stadium. Tickets at the gate are $15. For the best pricing on seat packages, email seats@bluessoccerclub.com, visit www.ocbluesfc.com or hashtag #myocblues for more information.

If you can’t make it to the game, you may watch the live stream online, thanks to a new partnership between USL PRO and YouTube. OC Blues FC v Harrisburg City Islanders will streamed live, for free, via the OC Blues FC official YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/OCBluesFC).

OC Blues FC Takes on Harrisburg City Islanders in Thursday Night Matchup

Image

IRVINE, CA.-  The Orange County Blues will host Harrisburg City Islanders at Anteater Stadium, this Thursday, April 24 at 7:30 p.m PT.

Harrisburg City Islanders are based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  The City Islanders have been a part of USL PRO since 2004 and have since then set standards high, defeating Major League Soccer teams, as well as outstanding participation in Lamar Hunt Open Cup. In 2010, Harrisburg became the exclusive affiliate of the Philadelphia Union.

The City Islanders visit Orange County for the first time in 2014, and Thursday is the only time the two meet during the regular season. Harrisburg visits the west with a 0-1-1 record, after suffering a 1-0 loss to the Dayton Dutch Lions Saturday night at their home-opener in Harrisburg.

The Blues also come to their home pitch after a tough 3-1 loss against their west coast rival, LA Galaxy II. Orange County stands with a 1-3-0 record, giving them three points, putting them in 11th place of USL PRO standings. Although the season has just begun, early losses have given the Blues a clear view of the level of competition they will face week in and week out, and will play the City Islanders, as Captain Allan Russell said, “with more heart.”

The key player to watch for Harrisburg is midfielder Pedro Ribeiro. The Philadelphia Union loanee was named to the USL PRO Team of the Week. For the Blues, keep an eye on Jiovanni Santana and Russell.  Santana scored his first professional goal against LA Galaxy II on Saturday, finishing a pass from Russell, giving them both Honorable Mention on the Team of the Week.

After this match, the Blues will host LA Galaxy II Sunday April 27th at 4 P.M. P.T., for the first time at Anteater Stadium. After two losses at StubHub Center against LA, the team will be extra motivated to claw back in the series in front of the home crowd.

Its time for Orange County to show their support and make noise for the Blues. Join your OC Blues this Sunday against their rival across the Orange Curtain. For best pricing on seats call (714) 738-8011, email seats@bluessoccerclub.com, visit www.ocbluesfc.com or hashtag #myocblues for more information.

If you can’t make it to the game, you may watch the live stream online, thanks to a new partnership between USL PRO and YouTube. OC Blues FC v Harrisburg City Islanders will streamed live, for free, via the OC Blues FC official YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/OCBluesFC).

Jiovanni Santana and Allan Russell Named Honorable Mention on USL PRO Team of the Week

Image

OC Blues FC midfielders Jiovanni Santana and Allan Russell were named Honorable Mention on the USL PRO Team of the Week. In the match against LA Galaxy II, Allan Russell collected a high ball from Gibson Bardsley and passed back to a cutting Jiovanni Santana, who scored his first professional goal when he slotted a shot to the left corner past Galaxy II goalkeeper Cody Laurendi. 

From USL Communications: 

TAMPA, Fla. – USL PRO named its Team of the Week for Week 5 of the 2014 season on Tuesday as Arizona United SC forward Jonathan Top was named Player of the Week as he scored the game-winning goal in a 2-1 win against Sacramento Republic FC. The victory was United’s first win in club history.

Top, on loan from FC Dallas, capitalized on a strong buildup from United, as a pass out to the right side found Matt Kassel and his cross to the back post was knocked down by Kadeem Dacres into the path of Top, who finished coolly before running to celebrate with Arizona’s fans behind the goal.

Kassel also earned a berth on the Team of the Week as he played an integral role in United’s victory. The team’s captain, Kassel provided a sweeping cross for Brandon Swartzendruber to score the first goal in club history, and despite having a penalty saved shortly before halftime, he continued to prove influential throughout the second half which culminated in his role in the winning goal.

The Richmond Kickers’ Kyle Porter joined Kassel in the Team of the Week midfield after his goal sparked his side’s comeback to earn a 2-2 draw with Pittsburgh. The Riverhounds were also represented by Brian Ownby, who scored and drew a penalty kick against his former team, while Jarad van Schaik from Charleston completed the quartet after a strong performance in difficult conditions against the New York Red Bulls Reserves.

Dayton had a pair of players selected following its 1-0 win on the road against Harrisburg as goalkeeper Matt Williams earned his second selection of the season for a five-save shutout. Forward Aaron Schoenfeld was also named after a strong all-around performance was capped with the game’s only goal.

The LA Galaxy II also earned two selections as they returned to the top of the USL PRO standings, with forward Chandler Hoffman and defender Daniel Steres both selected. Steres was joined by Harrisburg’s Pedro Ribeiro and Richmond’s Taylor Kemp in the Team of the Week defense after both performed well at both ends of the field.

The 2014 USL PRO season continues on Tuesday night as Orlando City visits the FC Dallas Reserves at 8 p.m. ET. Friday night sees another interleague contest as the Charlotte Eagles play host to the Chicago Fire Reserves at 7 p.m. ET, with the night being capped by the LA Galaxy II’s visit to Arizona United SC at 10 p.m. ET.

Saturday night brings two inaugural home openers as OKC Energy FC hosts Orlando City at Pribil Stadium at 8 p.m. ET, and Sacramento Republic FC hosts the Harrisburg City Islanders at Hughes Stadium at 10:30 p.m. ET. The weekend concludes on Sunday as the Rochester Rhinos host their 19th home opener at 4:05 p.m. ET with the Charleston Battery the visitors.

Every game of the 2014 USL PRO season can be seen live on YouTube, with live updates also available via Twitter (@USLPRO), Facebook and Google+. Stay up to date with news, previews and match reports from throughout the league via USLPROSoccer.com.

USL PRO Team of the Week

Image

 Honorable Mention – Arizona: Brandon Swartzendruber, Kadeem Dacres; Charleston: Dane Kelly, Heviel Cordoves; Dayton: Brock Granger, Eli Garner; Harrisburg: Richie Marquez, Yann Ekra; LA Galaxy II: Jack McBean, Rafael Garcia; Oklahoma City: Jon Kempin; Orange County: Jiovanni Santana, Allan Russell; Pittsburgh: Danny Earls, Jason Johnson; Richmond: Samuel Asante, Matt Delicate; Sacramento: Rodrigo Lopez, Jack Avesyan.