Photo courtesy Steven Christy / OKC Energy FC
OKLAHOMA CITY – Wojciech Wojcik scored twice as OKC Energy FC took a 3-2 victory against Phoenix Rising FC in the USL Game of the Week on ESPN3 on Tuesday night at Taft Stadium. Phoenix’s biggest chance of the first half arrived seven minutes before the break as Gavin was unable to put home a chance from six yards after Uchenna Uzo had beaten Laurendi to a long throw-in. It was Energy FC that took the lead in first-half stoppage time, though, as Michael Harris’ flighted cross from the right found Wojcik for a powerful header into the right corner of the net. Phoenix leveled two minutes into the second half, as a great near-post flick by Kody Wakasa off a corner from the left gave J.J. Greer the chance to head home from close range, but Energy FC regained the lead nine minutes later with a lashed left-footed finish after finding space on the left side of the penalty area. Energy FC made it 3-1 with 20 minutes to go as Wojcik knocked home his second of the night on the rebound from Daniel Jackson’s shot from the right side of the penalty area, and the Energy FC forward almost completed a hat trick as he sent his shot high with eight minutes to go off a chipped pass by Gonzalez. Rising FC pulled a goal back a minute later as Eder Arreola fired home a low shot into the right corner, but Energy FC saw out the remainder of the contest to even the season series at one win apiece.
45+’ – OKC – Wojciech Wojcik (Michael Harris)
47’ – PHX – J.J. Greer (Kody Wakasa)
56’ – OKC – Kyle Hyland (Daniel Jackson)
70’ – OKC – Wojciech Wojcik
83’ – PHX – Eder Arreola (Matt Hurlow-Paonessa)
Three Things That Matter:
1. OKC Energy FC forward Wojciech Wojcik notched his first goal of the 2017 last Wednesday night against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC in the Third Round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, and after his first two league goals of the season on Tuesday night, the hope for Energy FC must be their target forward is founding into form. Energy FC’s attack has had difficulties for more than a season, with Wojciech only scoring four goals last year in the regular season. With Jose Barril looking better acclimatized to his new surroundings, though, the Energy FC attack could have turned a page.
2. Phoenix had arguably the better of the first half, and responded well to going behind as a great effort by Kody Wakasa created the equalizer for J.J. Greer only two minutes into the second half. Another fine effort by recent signing Eder Arreola also highlighted Rising FC’s attacking prowess, but as positive as the side looked going forward during the opening hour of the game, though, the side looked out of sorts in defense. After getting back onto level terms, Kyle Hyland and Wojcik were left in too much space to provide the goals that earned the hosts victory despite the visitors’ late rally.
3. Energy FC had games in hand on most of the teams ahead of it in the Western Conference going into a big week for the side, but the trick was always going to be taking advantage of those chances to gain ground. With San Antonio FC and its undefeated record coming to Taft Stadium on Saturday night, picking up three points against a Phoenix side missing a number of its big names was imperative. Now OKC is within range of the top eight, and will carry some confidence into one of the bigger games this Saturday night.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Wojciech Wojcik, OKC Energy FC – Wojcik’s first two goals of the season provided the momentum Energy FC needed to overcome an even first half to earn a big three points on home turf.
OKC Energy FC vs. San Antonio FC – June 10, 8:30 p.m. ET, Taft Stadium
Phoenix Rising FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 – June 10, 10:20 p.m. ET, Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex