By Ryan Chapman, Sports Editor
Energy FC and the Tulsa Roughnecks drew 1-1 before a
smattering of fans in 2019’s first edition of the Black Gold Derby.
Oklahoma City overcame a slow start, but finished the game
firing on all cylinders, unfortunate to not leave ONEOK Field with all three
“Any time you get a point on the road, especially in a derby
game when its hard fought and intense like it was, and especially coming down
from a goal down early, you’ve got to be proud of the effort and commitment the
players have made,” said head coach Steve Cooke after the match. “It was one of
those games where you leave and you say you’re happy with a point, but we feel
we could have got more.”
Football can be a cruel mistress, as the Energy learned in
the opening moments of the game.
In the third minute, the ball fell to the feet of Energy
forward Omar Gordon in the penalty area off of a deflection. Gordon made strong
contact, but his volley ricocheted off the crossbar.
Moments later at the other end of the pitch, Energy defender
Mike da Fonte carelessly turned the ball over to Tulsa’s Rodrigo Da Costa. Da
Costa slid the ball to teammate Janu Silva, who coolly slid the ball past Cody
Laurendi’s reach and into the back of the net.
Silva nearly doubled Tulsa’s lead a few minutes later, as he
again found himself through on goal behind the Energy defense, but this time he
was unable to beat Laurendi.
Half an hour into the game, Oklahoma City began to regain a
Christian Eissele almost leveled the contest for the Energy
when he blocked Roughnecks keeper Mason Stajduhar’s clearance. Eissele found
the ball at his feet with an open net in front of him, but he did not put
enough pace on the shot and Tulsa defender Moses Makinde cleared the lines with
a last ditch slide.
Three minutes later, Oklahoma City found their equalizer.
Alexy Bosetti lined up a free kick on the left edge of the penalty area, but he
fired the ball into the Tulsa wall. Though his shot was blocked, it deflected
into the box, where Gordon redirected the ball into the back of the net with a
“Fantastic header to get in front of the mark and to
redirect it into the corner of the goal,” Cooke said. “I thought it was a terrific
Gordon celebrated the goal by running into the gathering of
Energy fans, who made the trip up the turnpike for the match and were stationed
behind the goal.
“He ran over to the corner and over to the fans… Our fans
were unbelievable again tonight. Having a look around the stadium, there was
more green tonight than anything else,” said Cooke.
Though there may not have been more Energy fans present than
Roughnecks fans, Oklahoma City was still well represented in the crowd.
Oklahoma City played most of the second half on the front
foot, outshooting Tulsa nine to five in the second half. Unfortunately, despite
generating more offense, the Energy were unable to break the gridlock and win
“We started in the first 15 to 20 minutes a little bit slow
and a bit lacking in intensity, and then in the second half one of the things
we addressed is make sure we come out with that. I think in the second half we
controlled possession, and we controlled where the game was played as well… We
felt we did well enough to win the game, but that’s the way it goes sometimes,”
Oklahoma City should have doubled their lead in the 53rd
minute. Bosetti picked out Gordon on a beautiful through ball towards the right
corner flag. Gordon then centered the ball to teammate Cordell Cato, but his
shot was parried wide by the sliding Stajduhar to complete the save.
Forward Deshorn Brown returned to action for the first time
after missing four weeks with a knee injury. He replaced Bosetti in the 73rd
Brown provided the last real chance for Oklahoma City
moments after his introduction. He beat the Tulsa defense, and curled a shot
around Stajduhar, but ultimately he pushed the shot just wide of Stajduhar’s
Despite having to settle for a draw, the Energy will be able
to distinguish some positives from their performance.
The most notable will be the performance of the team,
specifically the midfield, in the second half. Midfielders Callum Ross and
Rafael Garcia are often left to fend for themselves when Oklahoma City’s front
four starts to fire on all cylinders. Even though they did not score, the
Energy showed great balance, attacking freely while not stretching themselves
too thin to stay sound defensively. Ross and Garcia will look to build on their
great second half performances in the Energy’s next outing.
Cooke was pleased with how his midfield preformed.
“When we go forward, we go forward in numbers, we attack
with pace, we attack with real positivity going towards the goal, and at times
that might mean one or two get excited. Maintaining that shape behind the ball,
making sure we don’t get counterattacked against, I think for the most part
they did that well tonight, but it does leave us open. But I’m not someone who
says ‘hey, go faster but put the brakes on.’ If we’re gonna go for it, we’re
gonna go for it,” said Cooke.
Oklahoma City returns to the friendly confines of Taft
Stadium next Saturday, where they will host league cellar dwellers Tacoma
Defiance, who have registered just six points in nine matches.