Photo by Steven Christy
32 degrees in March is usually rare in Oklahoma City, but that was the temperature this evening when OKC Energy FC kicked off their inaugural season, playing University of Nebraska – Omaha in a preseason matchup. The Mavericks from Omaha were also playing in their first game of the season, beginning a three-game stretch against the Energy, MLS’s Colorado Rapids, and NASL’s Minnesota United FC.
The Energy had a strong start to the match, earning a corner kick in the 10th minute and nearly scoring their first goal, but the defense of UNO was able to keep the ball from crossing the line and keep it a scoreless match. Philip Lund came up with two big chances, minutes apart – hitting the post in the 15th minute and UNO’s goalkeeper Josh Christensen making the save in the 17th. Michael Thomas had a chance in the first half and Christensen knocked that one away as well. UNO came up with a few chances but the defense of the Energy and the play of Samir Badr in goal kept it a nil-nil match after the first half.
UNO turned up the pace in the second half, forcing a few saves by Badr in the first fifteen minutes of the half. In the final third of the match, the Energy picked things up and picked up the lone goal of the match from substitute Paul Wyatt in the 85th minute by heading in a rebound from a David Leichty shot. UNO had a chance to earn the equalizer late from a free kick, but the Energy defense turned it away and allowed the team to earn their first win in their first match as a club.
OKC Energy FC continues their preseason schedule on Wednesday as they take on Oral Roberts University in Tulsa.
OKC Energy FC (4-2-3-1)
Miller – Evans – Hedrick – Doue
Thomas – Morad
Leichty – Djeziri – Lund
IN → Max Gunderson (13′)
OUT ← Peabo Doue
IN → Jennings Clark (64′)
OUT ← Samir Badr
IN → Paul Wyatt (64′)
OUT ← Tarek Morad
IN → Nate Shiffman (64′)
OUT ← Philip Lund
IN →Steven Perry (64′)
OUT ← Adda Djeziri
UNO Mavericks (4-4-2)
McCain – Miller – Da Silva – Mendez
Moulton – Gomez – Alihodzic – Perez
Corboy – Garcia
Notes: – If Adda Djeziri has been signed by the Energy, it has not been officially announced anywhere. Djeziri has trained previously with Sporting KC during past preseasons, and this may just be him getting another look.
– Steven Perry is another name that has not been mentioned anywhere previously by the club. Perry is an Edmond, Oklahoma native, coming off of two seasons with the Wilmington Hammerheads, picking up six goals in 36 matches.