Oklahoma City Energy FC extended its unbeaten streak to five games with a 0-0 draw against the Rochester Rhinos in United Soccer League Pro division action Sunday night at Pribil Stadium. Energy FC is 2-0-3 in its last five games.
Oklahoma City’s Jon Kempin, who earned league Goalkeeper of the Week two weeks ago, recorded his second straight clean sheet, stopping two shots. Kempin said it wasn’t the best performance, but his team has made significant improvements since losing six straight games earlier this season.
“Listen, that’s a good team,” Kempin said of Rochester, which is 6-4-6 and fourth in the league. “I thought we came out well and on top. We didn’t play our best, but we still got a tie and I think it’s a good performance.”
Kempin said a change in mentality has resulted in change for Energy FC (4-7-3).
“We got knocked down for six in a row, and now we’ve stood tall for five in a row,” Kempin said. “So mentality and intensity in training and the whole team coming together and believing, (Energy coach) Jimmy (Nielsen) has really got us believing.”
Oklahoma City outshot Rochester 7-4 in the first half. Both Kempin and Rochester goalkeeper John McCarthy each had two saves. Rochester kicked it up a notch in the second half, outshooting Energy FC 7-1. Kempin said Energy FC did all it could to keep the Rhinos from scoring.
“They did have a lot of good chances at the end,” Kempin said. “But I think we did well pressuring enough to force them to hit it over or miss a shot. We gave them enough pressure to not them get those chances.”
Energy FC took one second-half shot, but it was the shot it didn’t take that might have played the biggest role in the game.
Steven Perry, a Bishop McGuinness alum, took a pass ahead of the defense and had a one-on-one opportunity with McCarthy. McCarthy dove for the stop, tripping Perry. No call was made.
Nielsen said it was a bad call and that McCarthy told him after the game he knew it was a penalty.
“We just got to live with it. It’s part of the game,” Nielsen said. “I’m not angry with it. He sees something different, but the fact is that’s a PK.”
Oklahoma City had one other opportunity to score in the two minutes of stoppage time, but a turnover killed its chance. Rochester carried possession through the final whistle.
Energy FC remains at home for the next four games. Sacramento returns to Oklahoma City on Saturday at 7 p.m. looking to avenge a 2-0 loss to Energy FC last weekend.