MIDLAND — It was all about “Energy.” Oklahoma City had it; Sockers FC did not.
Playing their third match in just seven days, the Sockers’ U.S. Open Cup run ended on Wednesday night in a 3-1 loss to the Oklahoma City Energy at Grande Communications Stadium.
“We were a tired team tonight,” said Jeff VonHolle, Sockers assistant general manager and director of soccer operations. “The guys played hard against a very tough Oklahoma City squad, and, ultimately, we’ll learn a lot from this game.”
The Sockers, who have only been practicing together for 10 days, could not keep up with an Energy team that already has eight games under its belt. Oklahoma City played fast and aggressive throughout the match, and that attack eventually wore down the Sockers’ defense.
The match was tightly contested through much of the first half, with the neither team scoring until Energy forward Kyle Greig broke the tie in the 42nd minute. Just three minutes into the second half, Energy forward Casey Townsend gave his team a two-goal advantage. Both goals were assisted by midfielder Peter Toth.
The Sockers answered in the 68th minute on a goal from midfielder Alberto Garcia, assisted by midfielder Andrew Fox. The excitement of that goal was quickly quashed, however, as, just one minute later, Greig added his second goal of the night on a throw-in from defender Michael Harris.
The match featured very physical play throughout, and the teams had a few minor scrums; only one yellow card — to Energy defender Coady Andrews — was issued by the referee.
Each team had several offensive opportunities throughout the night, as they combined for 33 shots on goal (17 for OKC, 16 for the Sockers).
With the win, the Energy advance to the third round of the Open Cup against the Tulsa Roughnecks (USL). Despite the loss, Sockers head coach Matt Barnes sees the Open Cup experience as a very positive one for the franchise.
“After the rebuilding phase that this team went through over the last couple of years, being selected for the Open Cup is a significant acknowledgement of the progress that we made last summer,” said Barnes. “What this shows is that a large number of people consider us to be one of the top 20 teams in the PDL.”
Now, the team has to refocus on the PDL regular season; their next match is Saturday on the road against the Houston Dutch Lions at 7:00 p.m. The team then returns to the Permian Basin for its PDL home opener against the Laredo Heat on May 30 at 7:30 p.m.
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