Game Notes & Player Ratings: Oakland Roots comeback to tie OCSC 2-2

The Oakland Roots came back from the death against Orange County on Saturday night, stunning the Orbs with an Ottar Magnus Karlsson goal from a free kick in the very last minute of stoppage time at 90+3′.

Perhaps the best part of the highlight is (who appears to be) Paul Blanchette hopping the barrier and kicking a damn hole through the fence before celebrating with his teammates.

It wasn’t pretty, especially in the first half, but a resilient group responded mightily in the latter going. It was all Orange County through the first 45 minutes with Oakland Roots taking just two shot attempts and none on target compared to OCSC’s eight attempts, three on target, and holding a 2-nil lead with two header goals.

We talked about Oakland’s keys to victory on RootsPod, where all three of us mentioned that Roots would require all of the possession to get a win. Well, they held 65 percent of the ball in the first half, but seemingly did nothing with it. They finished with 71 percent of time on the attack, eight shots, two on target, two big chances, and one missed.

The big change at halftime was debutant 21-year old Mikael Johnsen entering play at left wing, pushing Darek Formella back to Juan Carlos Azocar’s position and eventually transferring to a midfield role when Memo Diaz was inserted in the 68th minute. He was one of two difference makers for Oakland Roots with Edgardo Rito being a tone-setter throughout the final 45 minutes as well. We named Johnsen and Rito as our nominations for RootsBlog Man of the Match.

Oakland didn’t show signs of life until the 59th when Charlie Dennis cracked a hard shot off of the crossbar. It came shortly after a corner kick, where Dennis’ cross was defended toward Jose Hernandez. The ball worked to Rito, who sent a pass to Formella, sending a header pass to Karlsson. The ball deflected to Alejandro Fuenmayor, gathering off of his chest before heading a passing to Dennis for his attempt.

Two minutes later in the 61st, Rito created a scoring opportunity when controlling possession at mid-field and made a one-on-one all the way into the penalty area, but his pass toward the front of the net wasn’t pushed in by Karlsson.

Oakland’s goal in the 68th started with a long pass from Benny Diaz to Dennis, who did well to attack the ball. He sent a long pass down toward Johnsen, but Brent Richards misplayed the bounce. Charging forward was Karlsson, deflected the ball back toward Johnsen. The Norweigan spotted Rito running down the right, who took one touch before following through with his right foot for the goal.

But Roots still needed one more. Rito created more magic in the 73rd when a ball was heading towards the sideline, flicking his right foot to volley it back into play and make a run past Orange County’s Alex Villanueva with his back turned to the defender. Rito made another run toward the area, sending a pass to Karlsson, which eventually fell to Dennis for a blocked shot.

Karlsson had one more opportunity in the 81st but whiffed on his shot. In the buildup, Memo Diaz found Dennis on the left wing, who followed with a low cross into the Big Fucking Viking. His attempt left more to be sought after, but perhaps added fuel to Karlsson’s fire on his spot kick in stoppage time.

Prior to the tying goal, Johnsen retrieved possession by charging in front of OC’s Erick Torres. Johnsen got a return-pass from Johnny Rodriguez before looking for a pass through the back line to Karlsson, but the ball made contact with Albi Skendi’s arm.

Lining up about five yards above the penalty area, Karlsson shot off of OC’s Korede Osundina’s head on his jump to defend. Patrick Rakovsky, losing track of the ball, flailed his hands up in an unsuccessful effort to recover.

The tie brings Oakland’s record to 1-5-4, still looking to find consistency in the win-column. With eight points, a win will bring Roots all the way back to eighth place, meaning Las Vegas provides a prime opportunity to put itself back in the playoff race. Roots are currently five points behind El Paso in seventh.

FotMob Top-10 Player Ratings

1. Edgardo Rito, 7.7

In 90 minutes, Rito scored with his only shot on target and completed 27 of 32 passes, 3/6 crosses, 1/1 long balls, had 1/2 successful dribbles, won 1/3 tackles, 4/6 ground duels, one recovery, and finished with 59 touches.

2. Charlie Dennis, 7.7

In 90 minutes, Dennis recorded three shots with one blocked and completed 36 of 45 passes with one chance created, 1/5 crosses, 1/3 long balls, two corners, had 2/4 successful dribbles, won one tackle in as many attempts, 6/10 ground duels, 2/3 aerial duels, three recoveries, drew three fouls, committed three fouls, and finished with 67 total touches.

3. Ottar Magnus Karlsson, 7.5

In 90 minutes, Karlsson scored once with his only shot attempt and completed 13 of 20 passes, had two clearances by header, two recoveries, won two aerial duels in as many attempts, committed one foul, and finished with 26 total touches.

4. Jose Hernandez, 7.3

In 90 minutes, Hernandez completed 72 of 77 passes with one chance created, 6/8 long balls, dribbled past two defenders, won 1/2 tackles, 7/12 ground duels, 1/2 aerial duels, one interception, six recoveries, drew five fouls, and finished with 90 total touches.

5. Mikael Johnsen, 7.2

In 45 minutes, Johnsen recorded one assist, had one shot that was blocked, created one scoring chance, and completed 25 of 30 passes, 2/2 long balls, had one successful dribble in as many attempts, won 2/4 ground duels, 1/1 aerial duels, drew one foul which led to a goal, committed one foul, and finished with 43 touches.

6. Juan Carlos Azocar, 6.9

In 45 minutes, Azocar recorded one shot attempt and completed 13 of 15 passes, 4/5 successful dribbles, won 7/9 ground duels, had one clearance, drew two fouls, committed one foul, and finished with 29 total touches.

7. Alejandro Fuenmayor, 6.8

In 90 minutes, Fuenmayor completed 80 of 85 passes, 1/1 crosses, 7/8 long balls, and created one chance, won 4/7 ground duels, eight recoveries, committed one foul, and finished with 100 total touches.

8. Danny Barbir, 6.8

In 87 minutes, Barbir completed 76 of 84 passes, 6/13 long balls, had 1/1 successful dribbles, won 2/2 tackles, 3/5 ground duels, 2/2 aerial duels, one interception, four recoveries, committed two fouls, and finished with 93 total touches.

9. Tarek Morad, 6.7

In 90 minutes, Morad recorded one shot and completed 107 of 119 passes, 7/12 long balls, missed one big opportunity, blocked two shots, one clearance by header, two interceptions, 3/3 aerial duels, committed two fouls, and finished 127 total touches.

10. Joseph Nane, 6.6

In 69 minutes, Nane completed 38 of 44 passes, 1/3 long balls, one clearance, one interception, three recoveries, 2/4 ground duels, 3/6 aerial duels, drew one foul, and finished with 51 total touches.

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