The final home game for Oklahoma City Energy FC’s inaugural season ended with a 2-0 defeat at the hands of the Charleston Battery before a record crowd of 4,722 at Pribil Stadium.
“When there is really something on the table, we haven’t been able to step up,” Energy FC coach Jimmy Nielsen said about the team’s current five-game losing streak. “We have to admit and be honest to ourselves that we haven’t been good enough. We have not had the players who could step up and pull something out.”
Nielsen took the blame for the loss but said Energy FC has been too weak and easy to break down.
The first half of the match was even. Both teams took a single shot on goal and the teams’ goalkeepers made the save on each opportunity. The second half started the same way, but Charleston managed a breakaway in the 77th minute.
Energy FC defender Gareth Evans kicked the ball out of bounds to stop the break, giving Charleston a corner kick. Jose Cuevas sent a ball to a wide open Amadou Sanyang who headed it down toward the goal and in to give Charleston a 1-0 lead with just over 10 minutes left.
Shortly afterward, a pressing Energy FC team exposed a hole in the back line, and Charleston’s Hevial Cordoves netted the second goal of the game.
Energy FC’s MLS affiliate, Sporting Kansas City, loaned defender Kevin Ellis to Oklahoma City before the match. Nielsen said Ellis drove to Oklahoma City following Sporting KC’s Saturday night match with D.C. United, and Ellis started and played the full 90 minutes for Energy FC. He said the second goal wasn’t a result of poor play but that a change in the formation gave Charleston the opportunity.
“Jimmy (Nielsen) had told me to push up and play higher,” Ellis said. “So I think that’s when we went three in the back. It’s not like the guy beat someone and hit an upper-90.”
Referees added four minutes of stoppage time to the end of the match, but Energy FC never got any more chances. The home team finished with five total shots but only one on goal.
After a win from Pittsburgh and Wilmington playing to a draw, Energy FC has fallen to 12th place. The final day of the regular season is Sept. 7, and Energy FC still sits just one standings point out of the eighth and final playoff spot.
Energy FC travels to Sacramento on Sept. 5 and takes on Orange County in the final game of the season on Sept. 6.