Oklahoma City Energy FC defeated the New York Red Bulls Reserve team 1-0 on Saturday night at Pribil Stadium.
Michael Thomas scored the game-winning goal in the 93rd minute of action.
That was the one word Thomas could say following the game. Relief that Energy FC got its first home win in the young franchise’s history. Relief that it also snapped a six-match regular season losing streak. And relief that now, Oklahoma City can move forward with its season.
Energy FC ends a week that saw it lose to the L.A. Galaxy II 5-0. Then, after 120 minutes of fighting with Arizona United on Wednesday, Oklahoma City came up short again and lost 2-1. OKC also ends a month that never saw not just a win but even one point in the standings. Thomas is relieved.
“That was a great team victory,” Thomas said. “I think it was a well-deserved three points. We finally finished it off.”
Oklahoma City had every advantage in the match. They outshot New York 13 to nine. Mustered up five shots on goal and only allowed one from a Red Bulls Reserve squad that was anything but reserves. Of the 16 players that made the trip to Oklahoma, 12 of the Red Bulls’ players are on the team’s major league roster.
“They had a bunch of good individual players,” Thomas said. “We knew they would be good but if we continued to battle as a team and work together as a team then it would be to our benefit.”
Jimmy Nielsen said he was very happy for not only the players but the fans and the organization, too. Energy FC was winless in three home matches through two months. The coach also said the team’s energy was far more than his expectations.
“They looked good, they looked sharp,” Nielsen said. “They took all the positives from Wednesday night’s loss.”
Nielsen thought the match might slip away in the end. He said he felt his team was beginning to feel “heavy legs.”
The referees added three minutes of stoppage time in the second half. Oklahoma City had two different chances to score in the added time, but came up short before Thomas connected on a header that was assisted by Christian Duke.
Oklahoma City Energy FC, now 3-7-0, hits the road next week. The team travels to Wilmington on Friday and plays in Charlotte on Saturday night.