IRVINE, Calif. – Milan Iloski became the fourth player in Orange County SC history to record a hat trick as the hosts swept to a 5-1 victory against FC Tulsa on Friday night at Championship Soccer Stadium behind the first five-goal first half in the USL Championship this season.
Orange County jumped out to a two-goal lead inside the opening 10 minutes as Mikko Kuningas provided the assists on both, delivering a free kick in the fifth minute from the left side that found Erick “Cubo” Torres at the back post for a close-range header for his fourth league goal of the season. Four minutes later, Torres played a first-time pass to the Finn in midfield, and Kuningas quickly played Iloski in behind the defense for a low shot to the left corner for his third tally of the campaign.
Tulsa tried to hit back as a cross by Eric Bird found Lebo Moloto for a header on the quarter-hour mark that was saved by OCSC’s Patrick Rakovsky, but in the 20th minute the hosts struck again. Kevin Partida began the play, flicking a ball over the top down the right side for Brent Richards, who picked out a good cutback cross to Iloski in the center of the penalty area for a first-time finish to the left corner for his second goal of the night. The night got worse for the visitors shortly before the half-hour mark as Adrian Diz Pe was sent off for denial of a goalscoring opportunity as he brought down Iloski, resulting in a penalty kick. Daniel Pedersen stepped up and shot low to the left corner to make it a four-goal lead.
Despite being down to 10 players, the visitors still found ways to be dangerous through Joaquin Rivas and JJ Williams, with the El Salvador international twice being denied by Rakovsky inside the final 10 minutes of the half. In the first minute of stoppage time, however, Iloski completed his hat trick with a low finish to the left corner from the top of the penalty area as Orange County became just the 10th team to record at least five goals in the first half of a regular season game in Championship history.
Orange County almost added to its lead early in the second half when Alex Villanueva cut in from the left and shot to the far corner only for Tulsa’s Sean Lewis to make a good diving save. The hosts continued to stay on the front foot, too, as Lewis recorded four saves before Tulsa pulled back a late consolation goal from Brian Brown in second-half stoppage time. The result was never in doubt, however, as a dominant first half sent the win to the hosts.
USLChampionship.com Player of the Match
Milan Iloski, Orange County SC – Iloski recorded the fourth hat trick in Orange County’s history to lead the hosts to victory as he scored on all three of his shots on the night while completing 12 of 14 passes.
OC – Erick Torres (Mikko Kuningas) 5’
OC – Milan Iloski (Mikko Kuningas) 9’
OC – Milan Iloski (Brent Richards) 20’
OC – Daniel Pedersen (Penalty Kick) 30’
OC – Milan Iloski 45+1’
TUL – Brian Brown (Obuchi Obinwa) 90+2’