Galaxy II ends Energy FC unbeaten streak, 1-0

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Energy FC midfielder Adda Djeziri battles an Arizona defender during last Thursday's rain-soaked match. The two teams tied 1-1.
Oklahoma City midfielder David Leichty takes a shot on goal during a 1-0 loss Saturday night to LA Galaxy II.
Energy FC head coach Jimmy Nielsen watches the action from his spot on the sideline.
Forward Kyle Greig takes a bath on the field during Thursday's match against Arizona.
LA goalie Cody Laurendi makes a save and then collides with Energy FC's Steven Perry.
Oklahoma City forward Paul Wyatt fights for the ball with two LA defenders Saturday night.
Energy FC goalkeeper Samir Badr makes a diving save against LA Galaxy II.
Oklahoma City defender Tarek Morad heads the ball during Saturday's match.

Galaxy II ends Energy FC unbeaten streak, 1-0

By Tim Farley

All good things must come to an end which is what occurred Saturday night as LA Galaxy II broke Energy FC’s unbeaten streak with a 1-0 win at Pribil Stadium.

Oklahoma City had won four games and tied four more since losing to the Galaxy 5-0 on May 25 in Los Angeles. The loss leaves Energy FC at 6-8-4 as the team begins a two-game road swing at Harrisburg, Pa., on July 23 followed by a match at Dayton three days later.

The only goal of the game occurred in the 75th minute when Galaxy forward Raul Mendiola snapped a quick shot that slid inside the left post and past Energy FC goalkeeper Samir Badr.

Oklahoma City’s best chance to score occurred in the 55th minute when David Leichty shot a bounding pass from Javier Castro from about 15 yards out, but Galaxy II keeper Cody Laurendi dove and deflected the shot away.

LA outshot Energy FC 12-8.

Oklahoma City began the game with a lineup that featured eight non-starters due to a rough 1-1 draw with Arizona 48 hours earlier. Despite the regulars being on the bench, Oklahoma City and LA were tied 0-0 at halftime.

“There was nothing to complain about except the result,” Energy FC head coach Jimmy Nielsen said. “We competed and battled and created enough (scoring) chances to win the game. We went out there and gave them (LA) a 50-50 game.”

That didn’t happen the last time the two teams played as Galaxy whipped Oklahoma City by the 5-0 margin.

“I was embarrassed then,” Nielsen said. “I’m disappointed today.”

However, the first-year head coach was not disappointed in the changes to the starting lineup.

“I thought they were outstanding,” he said. “I would do the same thing again. The guys left everything on the field.”

Meanwhile, talk of the eight-game unbeaten streak during the past seven weeks hardly made its way into the Oklahoma City locker room.

“We talked about our performance and how we can improve as a group and individuals,” Nielsen said. “We couldn’t sit back and wait for momentum to come to us.”

Nielsen cited Oklahoma City’s 1-0 win over the New York Red Bull Reserves as a turning point for the first-year Oklahoma City team. At the time, Energy FC was at the bottom of the United Soccer League Pro division standings. Now, Energy FC is in sole possession of eighth place. The top eight teams qualify for the playoffs in September.

The 1-0 win over New York was the first match in the eight-game unbeaten streak.

Player reaction

Oklahoma City forward Paul Wyatt said Energy FC has made a “complete turnaround” since the devastating 5-0 loss to LA in May.

“We’re stronger not just in tactics but in how we battle,” he said. “To a man, we’re capable of fighting with the best teams in the league.”

Wyatt refused to use the lineup change as an excuse for the loss.
“We weren’t as sharp as we should have been,” he said.

Echoing his head coach, Energy FC midfielder Nate Schiffman said he and his teammates gave it their all.

“We left it on the field,” he said. “Compared to the last time we played them (LA), we really improved, but at the end of the day it’s still a loss.

Oklahoma City defender Tarek Morad said the difference in Saturday’s game was razor thin.

“In the end, they were a little sharper on one of their possessions,” he said. “That was it. We were a little unlucky on that goal.”

The win pushed Galaxy II (10-5-4) into sole possession of third place in the USL Pro division.

Energy FC returns home Aug. 2 to host Orange County Blues FC in a 7 p.m. match. Orange County currently is in seventh place, two points ahead of Oklahoma City.

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