Oklahoma City Energy FC defeated Sacramento Republic FC 2-0 on Saturday night at Pribil Stadium in Oklahoma City before another sellout crowd of 4,010.
It was the fifth sellout in five matches for the expansion Energy FC (4-7-2) and this time, the fans got quite the show.
In the 31st minute, Sacramento (6-4-2) sent in a corner kick. The fight for the ball turned into a fight between the players. Sacramento’s Ivan Mirkovic, who was playing his first match since serving a two-game suspension, was sent off for a red card after throwing a punch in the skirmish. Energy FC team captain Michael Thomas said it had an immediate impact on the team.
“Right when that happened you could feel the togetherness in a way,” Thomas said. “It’s little things like that that shows that we are really in it for each other.”
The red card also had a literal impact on the match. Sacramento was forced to play with ten men following Mirkovic’s ejection. Just four minutes later, Christian Duke sent a ball ahead to Adda Djeziri and Oklahoma City took a 1-0 lead.
Djeziri, who took three shots on goal in the match, said he spoke with Energy FC Jimmy Nielsen about being more effective and a little more selfish at times. The results paid off, and Djeziri was named Man of the Match.
“Dukie made a great play,” Djeziri said. “First he got the ball from one of them, then he passed me through and I got a good touch on it and finished. It was very good to see that go in. I was trying to be a little more selfish and I was just trying to help my teammates and luckily today I scored a goal to help them.”
Oklahoma City took its 1-0 lead into the half and spent most of the second half playing a more possession based offense. The chances continued to come for Oklahoma City, though; the team finishing with five shots on goal.
The last came when Bishop McGuinness alum Steven Perry sent a cross in to Thomas. Thomas only needed to tap it in around a falling goalkeeper to increase Energy FC’s lead to 2-0. Sacramento couldn’t respond in the final ten minutes of the match.
It was the first of six straight home matches for Oklahoma City, which plays Rochester next Sunday. Sacramento returns to Oklahoma City on June 28 for a rematch.