IRVINE, Calif. – Ottar Magnus Karlsson scored on a free kick deep in second-half stoppage time as Oakland Roots SC rallied to take a 2-2 draw against Orange County SC on Saturday night at Championship Soccer Stadium after trailing by a pair of goals at the halftime break.
Orange County got out on the front foot early and was denied the opening goal in the eighth minute when Sean Okoli sent a header toward the right corner of the net that was met by a fine save from Oakland’s Benny Diaz. Okoli wouldn’t be denied 13 minutes later, however, as he got on the end of a good cross from the left by Milan Iloski for a volleyed finish at the back post that clipped the ball just inside the right post.
The hosts doubled their lead 10 minutes before halftime as Albi Skendi found the net, connecting for a header to the left corner of the net off a free kick by Daniel Pedersen from the right channel. Erick Torres then almost added a third in the 38th minute as Diaz was unable to control a cross by Iloski, palming the ball to the former Mexico international in the penalty area only to be bailed out by defender Tarek Morad, who came up with a big block to deny the chance.
The second half provided fewer chances, but Oakland almost struck through Charlie Dennis shortly before the hour-mark as he hit the crossbar. The visitors pulled a goal back in the 68th minute, however, as Edgardo Rito broke onto a pass into the right side of the penalty area by Mikael Torset Johnsen and fired home on the first shot on goal for the visitors for the night. The visitors then had a chance to level five minutes later as Dennis’ shot was charged down by the Orange County defense, but in stoppage time Karlsson came through with a free kick that took a slight deflection off the top of the wall and found the back of the net to grab a point for the visitors.
USLChampionship.com Player of the Match
Edgardo Rito, Oakland Roots SC – Rito scored the goal that began Oakland’s comeback in the second half and had a solid display overall, completing 27 of 32 passes and winning 4 of 7 duels for the visitors.
OC – Sean Okoli (Milan Iloski) 21’
OC – Albi Skendi (Daniel Pedersen) 35’
OAK – Edgardo Rito (Mikael Torset Johnsen) 68’
OAK – Ottar Magnus Karlsson 90+4’