Photo courtesy Bob Frid / Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2
As the club entered a new era at Orange County Great Park, Orange County SC narrowly missed out on continuing its run of two consecutive appearances in the USL Cup Playoffs, finishing one win short of a postseason position as its new additions that sparked a late-season run couldn't come through with only four wins in the club's final 14 games. Among the 15 new additions to the squad, though, there were some positive signs that OCSC will once again be a playoff contender in the future.
With the club's new brand came the arrival of Champions Soccer Stadium, and as a result the club managed its best average attendance in club history. With the investment being put into the club by Owner James Keston, and the experienced hands leading the way on the field, OCSC is on strong footing as it moves into 2018.
Record: 11-11-10, 43pts
Place: 10th in the Western Conference
Goals For: 43
Goals Against: 47
USL Cup Playoffs: Did not qualify
2017 leaders: Irvin Parra (11 goals, 10 assists), Charlie Lyon (95 saves)
Getting a permanent home, at Champion Stadium, was a bright highlight in what was an up-and-down season on the field for Orange County SC. While the side will want to make its new home more of a fortress in the 2018 season, the potential return of Irvin Parra to the club's ranks would be very welcome. Parra made USL history in 2017 during spells with Seattle Sounders FC 2 and Orange County, becoming the first player to record both double-digits goals and assists in a regular season in the league's modern history.
As with the handful of teams that just missed out on a place in the playoffs, one bad run completely derailed what could have been a promising season for Orange County. That run came in August and September as OCSC failed to win a match in nine straight matches, which pushed the club well out of the playoff positions, leaving a mountain to climb for the final weeks of the season. A lack of consistency in a 3-3-1 run over the final seven games of the season meant Orange County just couldn’t get above the red line and back to the postseason for a third successive occasion.
Facing their local rivals the LA Galaxy II, Jerry van Ewijk seized on a clearance that had left the Los Dos goalkeeper stranded. Van Ewijk controlled well and unleashed a perfect lofted ball that dipped at just the right moment to clip the crossbar and fall in, doubling the Orange County lead.
Orange County goalkeeper Charlie Lyon produced a tremendous double-save against Tulsa Roughnecks FC, first keeping out a powerful header by Modou Jadama before recovering in time to parry away Bradley Bourgeois' rebound effort for the visitors, allowing his defense time to clear.