IRVINE, Calif. – Ronaldo Damus notched his second goal in as many games to earn Orange County SC a 1-1 draw with San Diego Loyal SC on Wednesday night at Championship Soccer Stadium after Tumi Moshobane had given the visitors an early lead as their undefeated run reached three games.
Neither side was able to create much early on in the attacking third, but San Diego threatened off a corner kick in the 12th minute that saw both Niki Jackson and Thomas Vancaeyezeele have shots blocked before the hosts were able to clear. Two minutes later, however, SD Loyal struck as Jackson found Jack Blake in space on the right to deliver a cross that was headed into the left corner of the net by Moshobane at the near post.
Orange County almost hit back in the 18th minute as Damus sliced through the SD Loyal defense but saw his finish deflected over the crossbar by SD Loyal goalkeeper Trey Muse. Off the ensuing corner, Damus almost struck again but his turning shot after a low delivery into the penalty area was blocked on the goal line by Jack Metcalf. The hosts threatened from another corner kick eight minutes later, but Muse made an outstanding save to deny Rob Kiernan’s header.
San Diego went close to doubling its lead eight minutes before halftime as Blake played Jackson into the right side of the penalty area that Orange County goalkeeper Patrick Rakovsky did well to keep out as he came off his line. Moshobane then steered a header just wide of the left post off a cross by Metcalf from the right two minutes later, but the visitors had to settle for a one-goal lead at the break.
The hosts leveled five minutes into the second half, however, as Brian Iloski delivered a cross from the left to the right side of the penalty area where Damus was able to control and then fire a low shot into the left corner of the net.
The game produced fewer chances overall in the second half, but San Diego almost regained the lead midway through as Miguel Berry sent a fine crossfield ball to Metcalf on the right that saw the defender get into the penalty area but have his shot blocked away by Nathan Smith. The hosts then went close to taking the lead inside the final 10 minutes when Avionne Flanagan held possession in the attacking third after a free kick was cleared and delivered a cross that found Damus, whose initial shot was denied by Muse before he sent the rebound over the crossbar.
Both sides pushed late to find a winner, including a stoppage-time effort by San Diego’s Jack Maher to the left corner of the net that was saved by Rakovsky, but the points were shared as neither side found a late breakthrough.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Ronaldo Damus, Orange County SC – Damus found the goal for the hosts and was active throughout in the final third, finishing with six shots, four of which were on target, while recording one key pass.
SD – Tumi Moshobane (Jack Blake) 14’
OC – Ronaldo Damus (Brian Iloski) 50’