Soccer season is here folks, albeit the preseason, a game against a collegiate opponent and on a night in Oklahoma when it would make perfect sense to stay home.
But why stay home when there is a professional soccer game taking place at 7 p.m. at Norman North high school. Admission is free for all preseason games, but before you grab your scarf and head out to the game, here are five things (joules) to know about the first game.
–It’s the first game. The first game in the history of Oklahoma City Energy FC is reason enough to go. I don’t know about you, but who doesn’t want to be able to say they were there when the team played their first game. Oklahoma City has a stated goal of making it to the MLS. That’s way too far in the future to speculate on, but if it were to happen, you don’t want to be wishing you didn’t go to their first game.
–Energy FC will play a 4-2-3-1 set to open. Head coach Jimmy Nielsen made it very clear after practice on Thursday that Nebraska-Omaha will have to play Oklahoma City’s style of play. I asked him about adjustments he might make for UNO and he told me, “This is Oklahoma City.”
–What about that style of play? What is it going to be? Nielsen said possession is the key. Nobody actually wants to play defense anyway, but Nielsen said having the ball, and being in control of the game will allow the team to do the things it needs to do to score goals.
–Nebraska-Omaha went 3-3 in the Summit League last fall. The division I Mavericks were 6-9-1 overall and their returning leader is Christian Garcia, who scored a team high four goals and had two assists.
–My player to watch is midfielder Michael Thomas. It’s hard to gage who will stand out in the first game especially a preseason match. But Thomas was the first player signed by Energy FC and has embraced his role as a leader of the team. He’s done it in and out of practice and there’s not much doubt that will continue as the games begin.