We interviewed Alicia Rodriguez of Angels on Parade ahead of the U.S. Open Cup match with Orange County tomorrow night.
1) Who are the standout players for Orange County and why should the Galaxy be worried about them?
On the attacking end, Jerry van Ewijk has been the most consistent scorer for Orange County this season. The Dutch import, new to the American game this year, has been playing as a second striker and plays with a freedom that makes him tricky for defenders to contain. Plus, he's been pretty consistent from the penalty spot this season, although he did miss his last attempt, which led to a loss.
In the back, goalkeeper Charlie Lyon has been very impressive this season, playing a significant role in picking up points in at least a few games so far. The former Seattle Sounders player appears to be above average by USL standards and is likely playing for a second-string or third-string GK spot for LAFC or another MLS side next year. If he's on form against the Galaxy, it could make the difference in the game.
2) What should the realistic expectations for the match should be for OC?
I think the minimum goal is to play a strong game and push LA as far as they can. I think if the Galaxy play a team of Galaxy II/deep bench players, then Orange County have a true shot of actually winning, and in any game, anything can happen in a one-off.
Realistically, I don't think anyone is saying "Orange County better beat the Galaxy!" and really mean it. But I don't think they can enter the game feeling like they are definitely going to lose, either.
3) How do you think Orange County will play against the Galaxy? Will they bunker down the full 90 minutes? Or do you think they'll risk it and take chances going forward?
I think this Orange County team under Logan Pause is still trying to figure out their style of play. They had a lot of success early in the season by holding onto the ball a lot and playing an intricate passing game. But they've probably only had one game so far this season where they've dominated for the full game (ironically, against LA Galaxy II in OC's home opener). And figuring the Galaxy will want to keep possession themselves, Orange County will likely need to defend first and look for chances on the break for the most part.
One factor that may favor them: They're in the middle of a three-week break in USL play, so they've been focusing entirely on this game for more than a week, and probably have developed a full gameplan at this point. We'll see what happens, but these are basically the ideal circumstances for OCSC to grab a win.
Predicted starting XI:
Oscar Sorto, Solomon Wbias, Beto Navarro, Roy Meeus
Victor Pineda, Richard Chaplow, Carlos Alvarez, Gustavo Villalobos
Monday Etim, Jerry van Ewijk