The first half hour of the match started slow with both sides trying to establish a rhythm. Republic FC finally broke through in the 32nd minute. Forward Justin Braun got behind the defense and put a shot on goal that was blocked by Orange County keeper Patrick McLain to the middle of the box. Rodrigo Lopez was there to clean up and sent the rebound shot into the open net to give Republic FC the 1-0 lead.
The lead would not last long as the Blues would equalize just three minutes later when midfieder Mershad Momeni attacked down the right flank and sent a low cross to Gabriel Gonzalez, who controlled the ball and sent a shot past the outstretched arm of Republic FC keeper Jake Gleeson to tie the score 1-1. The score would remain tied 1-1 at the half.
The early stages of the second half saw some wide open play with both teams seeing solid scoring chances. The match took an interesting turn in the 84th minute when Republic FC midfielder Tommy Thompson sent a low driven shot towards Orange County keeper McLain. The visiting keeper bobbled the save, before recapturing the ball on the ground. After some contact in the box and a bit of a scuffle Republic FC midfielder Lopez, forward Thomas Stewart and Orange County goalkeeper McLain all received yellow cards.
Republic FC finally broke through again three minutes into stoppage. Midfielder Lopez sent an in swinging free kick, which was punched out of the box by the keeper, McLain. Second half substitute midfielder Octavio Guzman controlled the long rebound 25 yards away from goal and sent a low right-footed bullet shot through two defenders and past an unsuspecting McLain. The goal was the second goal of the year and his first game-winning goal as a professional.
With the win Republic FC (9-5-2) moves just two points back in the USL PRO standings of the third place LA Galaxy II and three points back of the second place Richmond Kickers.
Orange County remains in the fifth place of USL Pro standings with a record of 8-9-0.
Join the Blues at Anteater Stadium this Saturday July 12th as they face Arizona United SC for “Give Back Night”. Nominame someone in your community by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.