IRVINE, Calif. – Darwin Jones scored the only goal as Orange County SC defeated Las Vegas Lights FC 1-0 on Friday night at Championship Soccer Stadium to break a three-game losing streak as Lights FC ended the game with only nine men. The win saw Orange County move level on points with the LA Galaxy II in Group B, with Los Dos having four games remaining in the regular season to Orange County’s three.
Chances were limited in the opening half-hour, but in the 28th minute Las Vegas was reduced to 10 men when a long ball upfield by Aodhan Quinn sent Jones in behind the Lights FC backline, and the fleet-of-foot forward was brought down from behind by Mobi Fehr, who was sent off for denial of a goalscoring opportunity. OCSC’s Brian Iloski tried to capitalize on the ensuing free kick from 25 yards, but his curling finish bent wide of the left post.
Orange County had another chance to take the lead seven minutes into the second half when Iloski delivered a sweeping cross from the left that reached Jones at the far post, but Las Vegas goalkeeper Edward Delgado came off his line quickly to make a strong save. Las Vegas was then reduced to nine men just before the hour-mark as he received his second caution of the game for a late challenge on Seth Casiple.
The hosts made the most of their two-man advantage in the 63rd minute as Kevin Alston picked up possession on the left side and delivered a good pass into the left channel for Ugo Okoli. The forward outpaced his marker to the ball and fired a low cross through the six-yard area that found Jones for a close-range finish and the lead.
Orange County almost added to its lead with 18 minutes to go as Iloski produced another good opportunity as he created space for a low cross from the left side of the penalty area, only for Cameron Palmer’s finish under pressure from a defender to go off target.
Jones’ goal would prove all Orange County needed to claim victory, and in stoppage time the hosts handed a professional debut to 15-year-old local standout Francis Jacobs as a late substitute. The work had already been done, though, as OCSC resumed its bid for the postseason.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Aodhan Quinn, Orange County SC – Quinn completed 73 of 83 passes overall and won 7 of 10 duels and 2 of 3 tackles to help the hosts control the flow of the game in midfield.