Michael Reed defends against Akwafei Ajeakwa. Photo Courtesy of OC Blues

San Antonio FC suffered its first loss in the club’s brief history as it fell 1-0 to the Orange County Blues to complete its California swing. The OC Blues, who outplayed San Antonio FC for large periods of the match,  deserved the win, coming off a first half penalty.

The ball bounced around in the early going, as the two sides struggled to keep the ball on the ground in the opening minutes. The first chance came to San Antonio FC in the second minute when the goalkeeper was off the line, but Jason Johnson chipped the ball wide of goal.

It didn’t take long for Orange County to get a chance, as they started pushing to find the opening goal of the match. They attacked mainly up the middle in those early stages but couldn’t break down Josh Ford.

A missed clearance gave Orange County a golden opportunity as they crossed the ball in to the box, looking for a header. That cross was headed clear from Bobby Moseley, to atone for his teammate’s defensive error.

Stephen McCarthy did well defensively in the 16th minute to keep OC Blues off the score sheet after a strong cross. The ball came in to Akwafei Ajeakwa who jumped up, only to be out jumped by the strong McCarthy who headed clear.

The Blues quickly got possession back and not even one minute later had the clearest chance of the match so far. Andrae Campbell broke a poor offside trap on the left, and passed across the face, looking for Ajeakwa but Josh Ford got off his line quickly and smothered the ball.

Brandon Miller was nearly stunned by a Rafael Castillo free-kick from the far right hand side, when Castillo took it directly. Miller was expecting a cross, and so when Castillo took the curling shot he was stranded, but was spared the embarrassment when the post came to his rescue.

The woodwork again denied San Antonio and Castillo in the 35th minute as he was able to create space on the edge of the box. That allowed him to look up and send in another curling strike, which beat the keeper again but only found the post.

Disaster struck for San Antonio in the 37th minute, as Campbell got around Milton Palacios, who lunged out to stop him. Palacios missed the ball and took Campbell down, forcing the referee to point to the spot. Didier Crettenand stepped up to take the penalty, which he scored easily, sending Ford the wrong way to give OC Blues the 1-0 lead at half-time.

Ford saved the day in the 48th minute when Orange County sent the ball forward looking for Ajeakwa, running forward. But Ford came rushing quickly off his line and flung himself at the ball to punch it clear.

Just one minute later there was a chance at the other end as Fejiro Okiomah drew attention, allowing Jason Johnson space on the ball. Johnson took advantage, sending a powerful shot agonizingly high and wide of goal.

A sharp counter attack allowed former San Antonio Scorpions player, Trevin Caesar, a great chance to break through the San Antonio line. That allowed him the opportunity, in space, but he was forced wide, tightening the angle and forcing his shot wide.

Carlos Alvarez should have equalized for San Antonio when a long ball was headed by Okiomah to find Alvarez running in to space. He rounded the defender and the keeper but his shot was too tame, allowing Jackson McCracken to clear off of the line. The resulting corner found Johnson, who managed to get a header away, but there wasn’t enough on it as Orange County managed the save.

It was a much better second half from San Antonio as they were coming out determined to hit their equalizing goal. That would leave them vulnerable on the counter, and that was where all the chances for the Blues were coming from as they looked strong coming back at San Antonio.

San Antonio should have been punished in the 63rd minute as the San Antonio defense left Caesar wide open. He received McCracken’s cross, and had plenty of space, but he could only head wide of goal.

The middle of the second half was a good passage for Orange County and they could well have had another goal through a free-kick just outside the box. Crettenand stood over it and hit a powerful shot which beat Ford, but came off the joint of crossbar and post.

Just one minute later the post saved the day for San Antonio again, after Caesar found space and got a shot away. But again he was denied by the woodwork, with the ball falling for Pavle Popara who had time and space but shot wide of goal.

That allowed San Antonio their own period of control and they were denied only by a great Miller save in the 67th minute. Carlos Alvarez was able to send in a good dipping free-kick but Miller stood firm, getting up well to it.

With nine minutes to play, only Ford kept the scores level as Caesar was played through on goal, and got in one-on-one with the San Antonio keeper. But as Caesar looked to round Ford, the big San Antonio man stuck his arm out and made a superb save to keep San Antonio in the match.

There were hopes for déjà vu in the 90th minute when OC Blues gave away a free-kick just outside the box. But unlike Wednesday night, Castillo’s shot curled wide of goal, allowing OC Blues to manage the win.

https://rivardreport.wildapricot.org

*Top Image: Michael Reed defends against Akwafei Ajeakwa. Photo Courtesy of OC Blues 

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Chris Hockman

Chris Hockman has been a freelance soccer journalist for over a decade, originally from Australia, Chris quickly started writing about soccer in San Antonio after moving to Texas in 2010. Chris is the...