T2 appeared to start the half looking a little bit better on the ball but going more for probing possession to test the waters out early. And the waters got hot early on in the 8th minute as Orange County went up early. But T2 closed the door after that were able to keep it a one goal game going into the half.
In the 8th minute, ex-Sounder David Estrada muscled Manning away to win a long ball sent forward by one of his teammates. With a small window of space to shoot Estrada instead tapped the ball to his left and over to fellow forward Chris Cortez. Cortez hit the ball on the volley with his left foot from about 10 yards out and his shot found its way past Luthy for the opener.
After the goal T2 amped up the pressure and looked for an equalizer. There were a good solid 10 minutes or so there for T2 before Orange County were able to recover and try to contain T2. The Blues were able to maintain the majority of possession but after a few minutes of dominating T2 the remainder of the first half was a back and forth affair. And in a game with huge USL playoff implications there where two or three times where it looked like emotions might boil over. But the refs were on hand to quickly prevent anything from going too far.
Coming out of the break, T2 looked a lot better as they usually do in second halves. Unfortunately, Orange County were able to get two more goals and get all three crucial playoff spot points in their victory over T2. The OC Blues were able to make T2 feel blue as they likely eliminated them from the post season tonight.
In the 59th minute, Chris Cortez scored his brace as he blasted a free kick under a jumping T2 wall and past a wrong footed Luthy. Luthy likely didn't expect the ball to get under the wall. T2 were unlucky to concede there as they were looking really good up to that point. When Fatawu and Winchester subbed on at the half they both looked hungry and wanted to get a result.
After T2 went down 2-0 Orange County started to get their way into the half and they sealed the fate of T2 in the 67th minute when David Estrada got another assist, feeding Denzel Slager for OC's 3rd and final goal of the night. Cortez won possession of the ball near the top of the T2 box and fed Estrada in behind a quickly retreating T2 backline. Estrada then served the ball over the net to Slager who got enough force on it to get his shot past Luthy for the third of the night for the Blues.
Even down 3-0, T2 continued to try to find a goal but Orange County were doing too good of a job preventing T2 from having many chances. They did end up getting a consolation goal when the ref gave T2 a penalty kick in the 87th minute. Fatawu stepped up and blasted his shot into the lower right corner to convert the penalty in the 88th minute. The Blues keeper guessed the right way but the shot had too much power on it to be stopped.
After tonight's result, T2 are very much likely, all but mathematically, eliminated from the post season. There is a game right now going on between the Tulsa Roughnecks and the Sacramento Republic. Currently, Sacramento leads 2-1. If that result holds, it will put T2 6 points behind a playoff spot with 3 matches left to play. One of those being a home game against Sacramento. But if Tulsa wins, it puts T2 7 points behind the final playoff spot. Regardless of the scenario, with only 9 points left to play for, T2 would need to finish the season out perfectly and hope for a few results to go their way if they were to grab a final spot.
Up next, T2 return home to face the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC on Saturday, Sept 5th at Merlo Field. After that T2 will stay home and play their final regular season home match at Providence Park on Saturday, Sept 12th, hosting Sacramento Republic. Their final regular season match will be away to LA Galaxy II on Wednesday, Sept 16th.