Last minute energy loss “disappointing”

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Energy forward Adda Djerziri competes for a 50-50 ball during Saturday's 1-0 loss to Orange County FC
Energy FC midfielder hit the ground after being fouled by an Orange County defender Saturday night
Kevin Ellis (15) fights for the ball during first-half action. Orange County scored the lone goal in the 90th minute of play
Gareth Evans argues a foul call with the referee after an Orange County player was injured on the play
A sea of green shirts and a few wigs were part of the Energy FC fan experience Saturday night
Fans hold up a huge Energy FC banner at the north end of the pitch

Last minute energy loss “disappointing”

By Tim Farley

For almost 90 minutes, Energy FC played a solid defensive game but confusion by two center backs allowed the Orange County Blues to leave Oklahoma City with a 1-0 win Saturday night at Pribil Stadium.

Playing before a second consecutive sellout crowd, the one lapse in judgment cost the Energy standing points as the team lost its fourth consecutive game, dropping to 2-5 overall.

Orange County’s goal began on a goal kick by Blues FC goalkeeper Josh Ford. The kick sailed into the OKC half, where Bardsley corralled the ball and tipped it over Energy goalkeeper Jon Kempin as two Energy center backs missed the ball. Ford was credited with an assist.

“We got beat by a goal kick,” Energy head coach Jimmy Nielsen said. “How do you get beat by a goal kick? That’s something you defend every day in practice. It’s very disappointing to lose a game that way.”

Oklahoma City has been shut out in two of the last four games and scored only two goals during that time.
For Nielsen that isn’t good enough, which he said will prompt a change in the starting lineup when Energy FC begins play in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Wednesday against the Tulsa Athletics.

“We want to win and we want to play some good soccer as well. But right now, in the situation we’re in it’s more important to get the win and the confidence and the belief will come later,” he said.

Nielsen offered no excuses for the last-minute loss to Orange County FC, which improved to 3-6 overall.

“In the first half, we didn’t play fast enough and we didn’t get numbers forward. We were missing a winning attitude. We did OK, but OK isn’t good enough to win games. Overall, we played too slow in that first half,” the coach said.

Energy FC had several more scoring chances in the second half with 12 shots compared to nine for Orange County. Each team took 13 shots for the game.

“We played a lot faster,” Nielsen said. “We created a few good chances, but unfortunately we lost in the last minute. I told the guys we can’t stand here and feel sorry for ourselves. We have a quick turnaround with Wednesday’s game.”

Energy forward Kyle Greig had a couple of scoring opportunities, including a header off a set play in the first half, but the attempt sailed wide.

“You only get one or two chances in a big game like this,” he said. “It’s disheartening to let one go in at the end, but we have to learn from it and move on.”

Kempin, who was aided by a solid defense, albeit for 89 minutes, credited his defenders with keeping the close.

“They blocked a ton of shots,” he said. “I thought we played well. We have to keep our heads up and battle for all 90 minutes. It’s not like we played poorly.”

Energy FC, a member of the United Soccer League’s pro division, will play its next league game at Los Angeles Galaxy II May 25 followed by a May 31 home game against the New York Red Bulls.

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