First professional game, first goal and first win.
Energy FC kicked off its first season in franchise history with a 2-0 win over the Orange County Blues in Irvine on April 5.
“I think overall it was a very strong performance,” head coach Jimmy Nielsen said following the match. “When you consider this is the first game for the guys, they really gave it everything they had out there. I am very very proud of them.”
Eleven minutes into the game, Christian Duke split two Blues’ defenders with a pass that found Kyle Greig on a breakaway. With just the goalkeeper to beat, Greig patiently took his shot that became the first goal in team history.
Oklahoma City’s success in the midfield created several goal scoring chances in the first half, one of which resulted in another goal when Nate Shiffman scored off a Peabo Doue header in the 28th minute to give Energy FC a 2-0 lead that would stand as the final score.
Despite being Orange County’s (0-2-0) second game of the season, it was Oklahoma City (1-0-0) that looked like the sharper squad. The shutout was also impressive considering OKC played the entire match with its third-string keeper, Ray Clark.
First-string keeper Jon Kempin was called up to Kansas City, OKC’s parent club in Major League Soccer, a few days before Saturday’s match. Samir Badr, the team’s backup keeper, was unable to play due to an undisclosed reason related to proper paperwork with the league, according to numerous reports.
That left Clark, who earned a clean sheet in his first professional game.
“To get the first start for the team was unbelievable,” Clark said.
The win gave Oklahoma City three points and fourth place in USL Pro standings. It also gave a new squad some added confidence.
“There is a big question on where we stand against other teams in this league,” Nielsen said. “But I think we came out there and proved that they belong in this league.”
Oklahoma City continues its season-opening road trip with a match against LA Galaxy II tonight at 9:30 p.m.