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Energy FC Feeds Off Support in Open Cup Thriller

By CHARLIE CORR -, 06/02/16, 1:15PM EDT


Fan backdrop, clutch finishes propel USL side in Oklahoma City derby

Photo courtesy of OKC Energy FC

OKC Energy’s Third Round match in the 2016 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup was not technically a home match, but the club certainly could hear the bevy of support in its corner against Rayo OKC on Wednesday at Yukon Miller Stadium.

With Sebastian Dalgaard notching an equalizer and Kyle Hyland the winner, the mass of Energy fans – including supporters groups The Grid and La Furia Verde – saw their side post a thrilling 2-1 overtime victory to advance to the Fourth Round against Major League Soccer’s FC Dallas.

“It was a great atmosphere,” said Hyland, whose 107th-minute header lifted Energy FC. “When fans make an atmosphere like that, it’s fun and enjoyable to play in. You kind of feed off of that – the whole team does really. It ends up being a good game to play in.”

“That was incredibly good,” Energy FC Head Coach Jimmy Nielsen said of the fan backdrop. “They were extremely loud and gave us fantastic support from the first second. It’s a special night for our fans, it’s a special night for our organization and obviously a special night for the players. Incredible.”

Photo courtesy of OKC Energy FC

The pinnacle of the match was Hyden’s go-ahead tally. Michael Harris set him up with the cross, and while it eluded teammate Wojciech Wojcik, Hyden snuck in to finish.

“I saw Harris getting up the line and I saw a good ball whipped in,” Hyland said. “Woj [Wojcik] did a good job jumping for it to at least distract the guys and I saw the ball fall just below [Rayo’s] Futty [Danso] there and I was able to get my head on it and it went in.”

Energy FC certainly knows it needs to play a more complete match on June 15 against FC Dallas, the club that also eliminated OKC from last year’s Open Cup. Nielsen noted the lack of possession among several factors toward the team’s slow start. But if the second half and overtime efforts against Rayo could be replicated, anything is possible in sustaining this Open Cup run in two weeks.

“It looked like we enjoyed it a little bit more in the second half,” Nielsen said. “We spoke about it at halftime – we’ve got to play with a little more belief and we’ve got to leave everything out there on the field.

“The result speaks for itself.”

Energy FC Head Coach Jimmy Nielsen / Photo courtesy of OKC Energy FC