Orange County SC earned their first win of the 2018 season on Wednesday, as they defeated OKC Energy FC 1-0 at Taft Stadium in Oklahoma City, beating their opponent for the first time since 2015.
OC started strong, and were rewarded for their energetic effort 13 minutes in, as Danish forward Thomas Enevoldsen converted Mark Segbers’ cross in open space to beat Matt Van Oekel in goal and give Orange County their first lead of the young season. The team peppered OKC with shots early, but had to settle for the lone goal.
From there, Orange County spent a fair amount of time weathering pressure from OKC to get back in the game, but with the lead the visitors had the luxury of focusing on defense first and foremost. Despite that, OC had a huge edge in shots on the night, continuing a trend this season, and while they would have liked to have padded their lead they were good value for their win.
One of the factors that has marked games between OKC and Orange County over the years is that one team often comes out flat. On this occasion, it was OKC that wasn’t up to the challenge, and Braeden Cloutier’s game plan was not only smart but executed well by his team.
With another game coming up and playing on short rest, this was the first opportunity for Cloutier to rotate his squad, and he brought in Noah Powder and Walker Hume in defense, and Mats Bjurman and Richard Chaplow in midfield. And with the attack putting a lot of chances on goal this season but previously finding nothing but a last gasp equalizer by a central defender coming on as a substitute, getting Enevoldsen, one of their many newcomers, on the board should be a big boost for the team.
So the win was definitely Orange County’s best performance to date and the first win, and fully deserved. They’ll hope the road trip continues to pay off, as they’ll head to Tulsa to take on the Tulsa Roughnecks for another Oklahoma showdown on Saturday afternoon. If they play like they did on Wednesday, they should have a very good chance, indeed.
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