Match Report: Kortne Ford's Season Ends In Shootout Defeat
ORANGE COUNTY SC 1-1 (aet) SAN ANTONIO FC
(OC win 5-3 on pens) USL Championship Western Conference Final Championship Soccer Stadium, Irvine, California
San Antonio FC lost their USL Championship Western Conference final at Orange County SC on Saturday night, which meant the end of the road for Kortne Ford, the last of the players out on loan from the Colorado Rapids.
It took a penalty shootout to decide this one, with OC holding their nerve to win 5-3 on spot kicks. Orange County head to Florida next weekend for the USL Championship final with Tampa Bay Rowdies. Former Rapids midfielder Dillon Powers was among the scorers for Orange County from 12 yards.
The contest ended 1-1 after extra-time.
A defensive error from San Antonio had earlier handed the hosts the advantage heading into the interval. A long throw on the right from Brent Richards, completely missed by Mitchell Taintor launching at the ball, dropped to Ronaldo Damus in space and his first-time shot flew past Jordan Farr.
The San Antonio equalizer came following an aerial win from Ford. Two passes later, Marcus Epps headed the leveler midway through the second half. Epps also struck the outside of the post inside the final 10 minutes of regulation, while Ford’s header was watched wide by goalkeeper Patrick Rakovsky as the visitors finished the stronger.
Into extra-time, and Orange County regained control as fatigue set in for a number of players on the San Antonio side. In the opening exchanges, San Antonio cleared off the line from a scuffed shot goalwards. In stoppage-time at the end of the first half of extra-time, Farr made three saves in swift succession, including an acrobatic finger-tip denial.
The team from Texas dug deep in the second period, as the game opened up. Despite losing skipper Victor Giro and goalscorer Marcus Epps, both seemingly too tired to continue, they applied pressure themselves before a shootout settled matters.
Ford twice went down in extra-time with cramp but managed to complete the game. It ends a USL season in which the Rapids homegrown defender returned to competitive soccer, after more than two-and-a-half seasons battling back from a serious knee injury.
Orange County: Patrick Rakovsky; Brent Richards, Kevin Alston (Nathan Smith 117’), Michael Orozco, Rob Kiernan ©; Thomas McCabe (Seth Casiple 74), Mikko Kuningas (Thomas Enevoldsen 74’); Dillon Powers, Eric Calvillo (Ben Mines 81’), Brian Iloski (Sean Okoli 90’); Ronaldo Damus. Subs not used: Abraham Romero, Kobi Henry.
San Antonio: Jordan Farr; Mitchell Taintor, Jasser Khmiri, Kortne Ford; Connor Maloney, Victor Giro © (Sam Gleadle 104’), Marcus Epps (Cameron Lindley 119’), Jose Gallegos, Mohammed Abu; Santiago Patiño, Nathan (Justin Dhillon 76’).
Subs not used: Jose Carlos Mercado, Joaquín Varela, Chris Lema, Ollie Wright.
About the author: Since 2013, Richard Fleming has been the TV commentator and host, covering the Colorado Rapids in Major League Soccer. During 16 years with the BBC, he covered two FIFA World Cups, five Africa Cup of Nations, a FIFA Confederations Cup, and a European Championship. He has also covered UEFA Champions League, English Premier League, and football at all levels of the game during more than 30 years covering the sport.