Photo courtesy Steven Christy / OKC Energy FC
OKLAHOMA CITY – Jose Angulo had two goals and Alex Dixon two assists as OKC Energy FC booked the eighth and final place in the Western Conference’s field for the USL Cup Playoffs with a 4-1 victory against the Swope Park Rangers on Sunday evening at Taft Stadium. With the victory, Energy FC moved out of reach of Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, which was officially the final team eliminated from playoff contention in the West. Energy FC’s Wojciech Wojcik had the first good look at goal in just the second minute as his header forced a comfortable save for SPR’s Darrin MacLeod, and the Swope Park goalkeeper had to be sharp a few minutes later as Wojcik brought down a good long ball by Kyle Hyland and fired a low effort from 15 yards out. Wojcik again brought MacLeod into action with a sharp shot from just outside the penalty area, but after Angulo had a shot deflected just over in the 25th minute, Miguel Gonzalez gave the hosts the lead from the ensuing corner his side-volleyed finish from the top of the six-yard area found the net. Energy FC continued to threaten, and doubled its lead a minute before halftime when Gonzalez found Dixon on the right, and his low cross into the six-yard area was tucked home by Angulo. Swope Park began to come into the game more in the second half, but Energy FC put away a third in the 64th minute as Dixon’s cross from the right was turned home at the near post by Juan Pablo Guzman. Swope Park tried to get back into the game in the final 20 minutes, but didn’t seriously threaten a comeback as Liam Doyle’s goal in the 88th-minute goal with a low free kick from 35 yards that found the bottom-right corner. Energy FC wrapped up the victory in stoppage time with Angulo’s second of the contest, however, as OKC booked its return to the postseason.
26’ – OKC – Miguel Gonzalez (Jose Angulo)
44’ – OKC – Jose Angulo (Alex Dixon)
64’ – OKC – Juan Pablo Guzman (Alex Dixon)
88’ – SPR – Liam Doyle
90+’ – OKC – Jose Angulo (Jonathan Brown)
Three Things That Matter:
1. Needing a win to book a third consecutive trip to the USL Cup Playoffs, Energy FC left little doubt as to the result with a comprehensive victory that saw the side continue its good late-season form with its fourth win in its last five outings. The side has scored 11 goals over those four wins, and on Sunday again saw all of its main attacking weapons contribute with Jose Angulo picking up a goal and assist, Alex Dixon a pair of assists and Miguel Gonzalez another excellent finish. Even those that didn’t end up with their name on the scoresheet like of Wojciech Wojcik and Jose Barril looked sharp, a very positive sign as the side now looks to the postseason.
2. As good as the Energy FC attack looked, what might have been more impressive was the way the side controlled the flow of the game, rarely letting the Rangers into the sort of rhythm that has seen Swope Park find success this season. Key to this was the play of Juan Pablo Guzman and Jose Barril, who won possession effectively and got Energy FC moving again with a solid all-around display. Not known for his goal-scoring – he had three shots total this season going into Sunday’s game – Guzman was even rewarded with his second goal of the season to round out an impressive performance.
3. Swope Park’s lack of attacking rhythm could be easily explained by the absence of Kevin Oliveira and Kharlton Belmar, but even with those absences Sunday provided a surprisingly disappointing performance for a side still in contention for a top-four finish. Now the pressure will be on the Rangers to close out the regular season with a victory on Wednesday night against Seattle Sounders FC 2, lest it open the door for Phoenix Rising FC to pass it for a home game in the opening round of the playoffs.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Alex Dixon, OKC Energy FC – Dixon recorded a pair of good assists, created four other scoring opportunities and notched three shots on goal of his own in a highly effective display down the right flank.
OKC Energy FC vs. Seattle Sounders FC 2 – October 15, 6 p.m. ET, Taft Stadium
Swope Park Rangers vs. Seattle Sounders FC 2 – October 11, 8:30 p.m. ET, Children’s Mercy Victory Field