Good morning Roots fans it’s game day! The Roots have traveled down to Irvine to face 2021 USL Championship Champion Orange County Soccer Club, who started the year terrible, became incredible, and are now somewhere in between those two. The match will be at 7:00 p.m. and broadcast on KTVU Plus and ESPN+. The official watch party, I understand, is a Slainte, near Jack London Square on Broadway (which we sadly learned this week is closing).
This game snuck up on me, and so the preview post today is just predictions. For context, though, Orange County sit in fourth in the Western Conference, 6 points about the Roots on the same number of games. Here is their fixture list, courtesy of FBREF:
I’m still worried, but I was a lot more worried before those last four games.
Lineup and Score Predictions
Not entirely sure of the status of the injury that took Memo off the field at the end of the SA game. However, we think he is suspended for yellow card accumulation either way. Hopefully the Tamacas rest was precautionary, otherwise it’ll be Prentice in there on the right.
The Roots need this game more than Orange County, and San Antonio are probably better than Orange County on average this season. 2-1 Roots.
I’m unsure what the short week of rest means for Oakland’s front line and midfield. I have Johnny Rodriguez starting up top alongside Cedeño on the right and Lindo Mfeka returning on the left. I have Tarek Morad back in the midfield with the sense that Delgado wants to get his favorite options on the field. With that, I have Danny Gomez back in the fold.
I’m going 2-1 Roots. Goals from Johnny and Cedeño.
For 120 glorious seconds, the decision to put Pelaez and Rodriguez on the field at the same time looked like a genius move last weekend. I say we run it back and see if they can have a slightly longer goal-a-minute stretch. Even doing it for 3 minutes is probably sufficient. Elsewhere, Hackshaw is starting to look a little tired, to me, but I don’t see how you drop him. I do think you need to take him out of the back line. For one thing, the team is better when he’s in midfield. For another, it seems like he’s been making little mistakes that get maximally punished because he’s in the last line of defense. Maybe just move him up the pitch a little, you know? I’d love Cedeno to put some pressure on Kevin Partida, who I think is likely to be a lone 6 for OCSC. As always, though, the key will be whether Danny Barbir is given complete freedom to do whatever the hell he wants to do on the pitch. Let him run wild, and Roots have a good shot here. 2-1 Roots.