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Three reasons to watch Defiance at Orange County

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With second place in sight, what version of Tacoma shows up against the former titans of OCSC?

Issa Rayyan bursts past two Orange County players.
Charis Wilson courtesy of Seattle Sounders and Tacoma Defiance

While Orange County SC have been rebuilding their roster (Out: Wehan; IN: Powers, Mines) Tacoma Defiance have chased them down to within striking distance. When the two sides meet on Wednesday night only two points will separate them. Second place is on the line because Wade Webber’s men are undefeated in their last seven matches (3-0-4, +4). During that same stretch OCSC are only 2-4-3, -1.

Getting the win would be a bit of history for Defiance, who have not won two road matches in a season since 2017 — when they were S2 and played at Starfire.

2021 is different because there is an ethos within the squad. Their drive to succeed together was apparent in the come-from-behind win over San Diego on Saturday and they have potentially the best defense in the USL Championship.

Advanced metrics have Tacoma as the minnows in this match. 538 gives them only a 21% chance of victory. Orange County’s home xGD is 0.16 per match, while Defiance on the road have an xGD per match of -0.42.

Why You Should Watch

  1. Friendly Faces: Former Sounders Darwin Jones and Ugo Okoli are among Orange County’s forwards. Former UW Husky Brent Richards plays at right back. MLS or USMNT fans will also be familiar with Michael Orozco, Kevin Alston, Dillon Powers, and Ben Mines.
  2. Right Wingback: For months the backup right wingback role with the Seattle Sounders has been available. Kelyn Rowe had a chance, but it went well enough that Ethan Dobbelaere started a conversion project there. Issa Rayyan is still getting more minutes than Ethan. One of those two needs to assert themselves and become the one who gives Alex Roldan a day off, because dude can’t do two-game weeks and international calls forever, can he?
  3. Who’s Going To Score? Defiance are succeeding without a legit scoring threat. Alec Diaz is out-of-form. Samuel Adeniran is a strong defensive forward. The most creative player is Ray Serrano, who is a rotational talent playing at right wing and right wingback. Yet, somehow Tacoma’s scoring enough to be a strong side. Roll a d100. The closest number is who will put one in the net tonight.

How to Watch

Match date/kickoff time: Wednesday, August 18, 7:00 PM PT

Venue: Championship Soccer Stadium | Irvine, CA

Online Streaming: ESPN+

Defiance Absences: There are no injuries to report. Sota Kitahara is on loan to FC Pinzgau Saalfelden in Austria until the end of 2021. Azriel Gonzalez is on loan to FC Edmonton through the 2021 CPL season.

OCSC Absences: To be announced.