Energy FC loses to Arizona 2-1

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Energy FC midfielder Abraham Villon dribbles the ball away from Arizona United FC defenders during Thursday's match.
Oklahoma City defender Cyprian Hedrick takes aim at a header.
Energy FC's Dan Delgado passes ball while pressured by an Arizona player.
Dan Delgado is fouled during first-half action.
Energy FC team captain Michael Thomas battles for the ball.
Oklahoma City midfielder Nate Shiffman plays the ball downfield

Energy FC loses to Arizona 2-1

By Tim Farley

A late surge by Oklahoma City Energy FC fell short Thursday night as last place Arizona United FC captured a 2-1 win at Pribil Stadium.

The winning goal occurred on a penalty kick which drew the ire of Energy players and head coach Jimmy Nielsen. Energy FC defender Cyprian Hedrick was whistled for a foul on an Arizona shot attempt inside the Oklahoma City penalty box. Sam Garza’s penalty shot bounced off the right post and into the goal, giving Arizona a 2-0 lead in the 75th minute.

“I don’t know where he (referee Jody Pinkerton) saw that PK because there was nothing there,” said Nielsen. “He (Hedrick) didn’t touch him (Garza). Sometimes players have bad games and coaches have bad games and so do referees, but we have to accept it and deal with it. The quality of referees isn’t very good.”

Oklahoma City defender Gareth Evans said the penalty kick call was a “terrible decision.”
“There was clearly daylight between the players,” he said.

Although Energy FC trailed by two goals with 15 minutes in regulation, Oklahoma City pushed back with a goal of its own less than three minutes later. Forward Adda Djeziri received a touch pass from Javier Castro near midfield, split the Arizona defense and took a shot that deflected off Arizona goalkeeper Evan Newton and into the net. It was Djeziri’s third goal of the season.

Oklahoma City had several more scoring chances in the waning minutes but weren’t able to capitalize. Energy FC took 14 of its 20 shots in the second half, peppering Newton with short and long-range attempts.

“We put ourselves in many good positions, but we were not sharp enough on the last touch or the final shot,” Nielsen said. “That’s what was missing. Other than that we outplayed them and out-competed them.”

The match was the third regular season game between the two teams this season with both teams winning once and tying once. Oklahoma City and Arizona will square off a fourth time Aug. 22 at Arizona in a rivalry that has seen numerous yellow cards and intense, physical play. Six yellow cards were issued Thursday night, five against Arizona and two against Energy FC.

Arizona led the entire match after United’s Long Tan scored off a header from teammate Jonathan Top during the fourth minute.

The loss left Oklahoma City (8-10-5) tied for seventh with Charleston in the United Soccer League Pro division standings. The top eight teams qualify for the playoffs. Oklahoma City hosts Charleston in its final home game Aug. 24.

Oklahoma City, which dropped a 2-1 game at Sacramento Aug. 9, hosts LA Galaxy II 7 p.m. Saturday at Pribil Stadium. The Galaxy has defeated Energy FC three times this season, 4-2, 5-0 and 1-0.

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