Oklahoma City Energy FC made a handful of changes on Saturday night, but none of them worked well enough to get a victory.
The United Soccer League Pro division expansion team lost 1-0 to L.A. Galaxy II for the third time this season at Pribil Stadium in front of 4,102 fans to end Energy FC’s eight-game unbeaten streak.
Energy FC coach Jimmy Nielsen overhauled his starting lineup as the team played its second game in three days. Nielsen made eight changes to the lineup and said after the game he couldn’t be more pleased with how the players that usually only get a handful of minutes each game performed, some playing the full 90 minutes.
“I think the guys, they left everything on the field,” Nielsen said. “They were outstanding. I was just sitting in there (locker room) evaluating quick. If I would have changed anything it would have been nothing.”
Part of the changes were three new defenders on the back line. Nielsen always plays four guys back and inserted Tarek Morad, Cyprian Hedrick and Max Gunderson along with regular starter Peabo Doue.
Morad said it wasn’t a big difference to play alongside his fellow defenders because they play together in training all the time.
“We had a good chemistry and we all know our tendencies,” Morad said. “We were very comfortable back there together.”
The game remained scoreless for more than an hour. Galaxy II managed six shots in each half, most of which came from more than 20 yards out. But it was Raul Mendiola who took a cross in front of Energy FC goalkeeper Samir Badr in the 75th minute and fired it passed the diving keeper to the left for the game-winning goal.
“I think we had our opportunities to make a couple goals and they had theirs,” Hedrick said. “But they put theirs in and we didn’t put any of ours in. And that’s the difference in the game. Smallest little things make a difference and today they had a little edge on us.”
Energy FC hadn’t lost a match in the regular season since losing in Los Angeles 5-0 to this Galaxy II team. Hedrick said going from 5-0 to 1-0 was a big difference and he was delighted that the players stepped up and made a difference despite losing the game.
Energy FC heads to Harrisburg, Pa. on Wednesday for a match with the City Islanders at 6 p.m. Harrisburg is 5-7-4 this season and with 19 standings points is within striking distance of Energy FC, which remains in a tie for seventh place with 22 points. Energy FC will also play in Dayton next Saturday before returning home to face Orange County (Calif.) on August 2.