Oklahoma City Energy FC dropped its home opener 2-1 to Orlando City SC on Saturday night in front of a sellout crowd of 4,230 at Bishop McGuinness’ Pribil Stadium.
Forward Steven Perry, who played high school soccer at McGuinness, scored the lone goal for Oklahoma City in the 92nd minute.
Energy FC coach Jimmy Nielsen said he was really disappointed in the way his team didn't give all they had.
“We talked about we got to come out flying and we came out unfortunately like small school boys,” Nielsen said. “We are not ready to battle. I'm very, very disappointed on the first half.”
Orlando City opened the scoring in the first half when Dennis Chin knocked in his second goal of the season in the 26th minute. Adama Mbenque missed a header, but Energy FC goalkeeper Jon Kempin was unable to secure the save and left the ball free for Chin.
Nielsen hinted that emotions may have been running too high. Energy FC, which is playing its inaugural season in the United Soccer League’s Pro Division, spent the week leading up to Saturday's match doing various public relations events throughout the city.
“There has been a lot going on in the city this week and maybe we lost focus on what the real job is. At times out there we were cones,” Nielsen said about the team's lackluster defensive effort.
Orlando City padded its lead in the 56th minute when Kevin Molino scored his league-leading fourth goal of the season. Energy FC’s Mark Howard passed the ball back to Kempin but the pass was way off, and Molino capitalized. The miscue proved to be the difference in the match.
“Miscommunication, you know?” Kempin said. “We're a brand new team and its early in the season, so its tough when things like that happen.”
Perry subbed into the game at the start of the second half and was relatively quiet for all of the second half. The refs added four minutes of stoppage time onto the end of the game and two minutes in, a long pass sailed over the Orlando defense leaving Perry to beat the goalkeeper and knock in the score.
“At that point unless we came back and tied it, it was more of a consolation prize,” Perry said. “It would mean a lot more after a win.”
The win extends Orlando City’s lead in the USL Pro standings. After six games played, the defending champs have 14 points and have now won four games in a row.
Oklahoma City drops to 2-3 overall and sits in eighth place with six points. Energy FC travels to Orlando for a rematch next week.