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Road trip brings better play from Energy FC

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Christian Ibeagha, shown here heading the ball in a match against Phoenix Rising last month, scored the game-winning goal in Energy FC's win over Portland on Wednesday night. [PHOTO BY BRYAN TERRY, THE OKLAHOMAN]

Christian Ibeagha, shown here heading the ball in a match against Phoenix Rising last month, scored the game-winning goal in Energy FC's win over Portland on Wednesday night. [PHOTO BY BRYAN TERRY, THE OKLAHOMAN]

After posting its first road win of the season on Wednesday, Energy FC returns to Taft Stadium on Saturday for a 7:30 p.m. match against Rio Grande Valley FC.

Energy FC split its two-game swing through the Pacific Northwest, downing Portland Timbers FC 2 by the score of 2-1 on Wednesday night after dropping a 2-1 decision to Seattle Sounders FC 2 last Saturday.

“To get three points away from home against Portland who is one of the best teams in the league is a credit to everybody,” Energy FC head coach Steve Cooke said.

Ironically, Energy FC (3-10-1) played better in the loss to Seattle than it did in the victory over Portland.

“If you look at the actual performance against Seattle, it was a wonderful, fluid performance, but unfortunately we did not win,” Cooke said. “In Portland, it was more of a gritty, hard-working performance and we come away with three points.

“It's a funny ole' game. I think against Seattle we played some of our best attacking football of the season. We created a lot of opportunities and had a great deal of attempts at goal, but unfortunately for us in the last 10 minutes we seemed to let our guard down defensively a little bit.”

Such is life in the United Soccer League, where there is fine line between winning and losing.

“It is a very fine line,” Cooke said. “I think it really comes down to key moments in games. You have to be fully focused, fully concentrated, to be alert at all times because the beauty of the game is even though it only comes down to a few moments you have no idea when they are coming.”

Cooke, in his first year as head coach for Energy FC, continues to make roster changes. Last week, he added to the lineup centerback Drew Beckie, a four-year pro who has played with Jacksonville, North Carolina FC and Ottawa Fury FC of the now-defunct NASL.

Cooke also recently added first-year player Ryley Kraft, who played most of last season with Orlando City B, and added veteran Kalif Alhassan. Christian Volesky came over in a trade with Saint Louis FC earlier this season. Expect more roster moves in the future.

“I think we have made good roster moves,” Cooke said. “We have added players in who we believe can help. I think it has really added to the group tremendously in the last three or four weeks.

“We are always looking to make progress and looking to improve. Whether it be on the field or off the field, we are always looking to make strides.”

The Rio Grande Valley FC Toros are 1-5-7 on the season and are coming off a 1-0 loss to Portland Timbers 2 last Saturday.

The Toros' lone win was April 25 over Orange County SC. They then played to a draw in five consecutive matches before dropping their last two decisions. The Toros have scored just one goal in their last five matches.

ENERGY FC VS. RIO GRANDE VALLEY

•Where: Taft Stadium

•When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

•Promotion: The first 2,000 fans through the gates will receive free PopSockets courtesy of First Fidelity Bank and Energy FC.

Ed Godfrey

Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more... Read more ›

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