The ASC San Diego soccer squad didn’t make it far in their quest for the NPSL Championship, as they fell to Orange County FC 3-1 in the first round of the playoffs.
San Diego got to the playoffs by accumulating 28 points over 12 games and averaging 2.33 points per game, topping the Southwest Conference Division.
They had only lost two games in the season, ironically to the same Orange County FC team they were facing today. While the team was looking for redemption Saturday night, three unanswered goals squandered all hoped of that.
The first half of the game was a defensive showdown, with both sides making great defensive stops yet squandering their offensive chances. With only the keeper to beat, Garrett Heine tried to corral the ball with hi head, but was unable to sneak it past the keeper. San Diego had another opportunity with a free kick, but Kuba Waligorski’s shot hooked just wide of the goal and away from the strikers stacked in the box.
San Diego also had some good fortune in the final five minutes of the half as twice Orange County had clear shots on goal, but both times they were thwarted by San Diego keeper Jean Antoine. Thanks to their superb defensive efforts, the score remained 0-0 going into halftime.
Both teams had scoring chances in the beginning of the second half with wide open nets, but both Amani Walker for San Diego and Jonathan Romero of Orange County missed their respective shots by inches. However, it was San Diego that drew first blood in the match thanks to a Walker goal that snuck past the Orange County goalkeeper, making the score 1-0 in favor of the home team.
The lead didn’t last long though as Kevin Jeon would end up finding the back of the net in the 54th minute of the game. An unfortunate whistle in the 57th minute against San Diego gifted Orange County a penalty kick, and the opposing squad didn’t waste the opportunity as Romero slammed the ball into the back of the net to give Orange County a 2-1 advantage.
Despite their valiant efforts, San Diego was never able to catch. Despite plenty of scoring opportunities, each shot either went straight to the keeper or just a bit to the side. One final goal for Orange County in extra time was the dagger to the heart, and San Diego’s playoff hoped ebbed away on the field as the final minute struck, but the boys on the field still walked off with their heads held high despite the 3-1 defeat.