Photo courtesy Steven Christy / OKC Energy FC
OKLAHOMA CITY – Miguel Gonzalez scored on a spectacular bicycle kick to lift OKC Energy FC to its first win of the 2017 USL season with a 1-0 victory against Sacramento Republic FC on Tuesday night at Taft Stadium in the USL Game of the Week on ESPN3. Energy FC (1-2-1, 4pts) almost earned the lead in the fourth minute as a good back-post cross from the right by U.S. U20 international Coy Craft found Wojciech Wojcik, but his header was parried away by Republic FC goalkeeper Evan Newton. OKC took the lead on the half-hour mark, however, as a long throw-in by Brian Harris was headed into the penalty area, and Miguel Gonzalez fired home a bicycle kick from 12 yards for his first goal as an Energy FC player. Republic FC (3-1-0, 9pts) pressed for an equalizer in the second half, but was reduced to 10 men with eight minutes to go when Chris Christian was sent off after being shown a second yellow card, and OKC was able to see the game out to earn its first win of the season.
30’ – OKC – Miguel Gonzalez
Three Things That Matter:
1. Miguel Gonzalez had made a slow start to his first season with Energy FC, without a goal and with only one chance created in the first three games of the season. With one outstanding moment half-an-hour in on Tuesday night, all of that turned around. Gonzalez’s bicycle kick finish to give OKC the lead, only the second open-play goal scored against Republic FC this season, would have been a massive boost to his confidence and the confidence of OKC’s squad as a whole. After scoring 16 goals in the past two seasons for Colorado Springs, this could be the moment that kick-starts the season for both.
2. Sacramento had the majority of possession, but was unable to find the penetration into the penalty area it had in its previous outings as the Energy FC center back duo of Coady Andrews and Mickey Daly did a fine job of harrying Sammy Ochoa and Wilson Kneeshaw as Republic FC got into some good wide positions. Republic FC showed greater intensity as the second half began, but were still limited to only eight touches in the OKC penalty area in the opening hour of the game, and 16 overall.
3. Energy FC could not have asked for a better way to enter a lengthy stint away from action, earning its first win of the season against one of the major contenders in the Western Conference. After Head Coach Jimmy Nielsen had criticized the team’s decision-making in Saturday’s defeat to Rio Grande Valley FC, OKC played a far better game, and while there were still mistakes – the early missed pass-back between Daly and Cody Laurendi the most notable – for the most-part Energy FC gave Republic FC few chances to exploit in its own half. A trip for a chance at some semblance of revenge against the Toros is up next with Energy FC feeling much better about how this season could turn out.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Miguel Gonzalez, OKC Energy FC – Gonzalez’s first goal for Energy FC was not only spectacular, but provided the side with a much-needed first win of the season
OKC Energy FC at Rio Grande Valley FC – April 29, 8:30 p.m. ET, H-E-B Park
Sacramento Republic FC at Swope Park Rangers – April 15, 8 p.m. ET, Children’s Mercy Victory Field