BRADENTON, Fla. --- FC Cincinnati opened the preseason schedule against USL Western Conference side, Oklahoma City Energy FC, dropping a 3-2 decision Sun. afternoon at the IMG Academy.
Newcomer Daryl Fordyce and Cincinnati native, Austin Berry, each scored goals in the second half for FCC, who had to play from behind the entire contest.
“We played against a good OKC team,” said Head Coach Alan Koch. “At times, it showed that it was our first game of the preseason but there are a lot of positives to build on. The players have some minutes behind them, we started implementing a system of play and a lot of character was shown. We are excited to build on those things further this week.”
Alejandro Covarrubias put OKC Energy FC on the board in the 14th minute. The midfielder capitalized on a defensive lapse by the Orange and Blue and put a free kick past Mitch Hildebrandt for the 1-0 lead.
That lapse seemed to spark FCC, which responded quickly by becoming the aggressor. In the 27th minute, Kadeem Dacres pushed the ball up right side and crossed it into the box to Victor Mansaray but the forward was unable to covert as the ball was cleared away from in front of the goal.
Eric Stevenson followed by putting a shot a foot wide of the goal a minute later for the club’s first clear shot on goal. It was Stevenson again in the 32nd minute, flicking a service from Aodhan Quinn towards the net but he came away empty-handed as his shot popped over the top of the crossbar.
Dacres and Mansaray worked together to earn a corner kick for FCC in the 33rd minute and Quinn looked for Paul Nicholson in the back post. The defender nearly had the equalizer but his effort was blocked away by OKC.
Four minutes later, Dacres earned another corner after taking the ball deep into Energy FC territory. This time Quinn nearly connected with Delbridge but Sam Fink stepped in front to head the ball out of play.
In the final seconds of the half, Dacres continued to spark FCC, taking a shot from 20 yards out but Codi Laurendi made a diving stop to keep FCC off the board and Energy FC took a 1-0 lead into the half.
Koch shuffled the lineup for the second period and Djiby Fall, the club’s latest signee, had what appeared to be the tying goal with an early strike only to see it negated by an offside call.
Fordyce tied the game with certainty in the 58th minute. Fall, who had the ball with space, found Fordyce at the top of the box and the forward was able to bring down the pass at the top of the box to set himself up with the clear shot.
OKC was awarded a corner kick in the 66th minute but Fall cleared the ball quickly and FCC went on the offensive. Andy Craven had the ball with an opportunity to give FCC the lead but his shot drifted just wide.
Play began to shift as Energy FC put together a chance in the 70th minute but Dallas Jaye, making the start in the second half in goal, punched the ball away. OKC kept possession and Wojciech Wojcik scored the go-ahead goal in the 71st minute, sprinting past FCC’s defense to coolly slot a right-side pass past Jaye.
It was Wojcik again in the 82nd minute, giving OKC a 3-1 advantage. A ball from the right side into the box was flicked on by Daniel Jackson to an unchecked Wojcik, who finished the play.
Responding to the challenge for FCC in the 83rd minute was Fall, whose header caromed off the crossbar to deny the veteran forward. Six minutes later, FCC was able to trim the deficit to one. Jimmy McLaughlin lined a shot into the box and connected with an oncoming Berry, who buried the ball into the net. On the following play, Fall continued to be a threat, firing a shot on goal in the 90th minute but saw the ball knocked down by Laurendi.
FCC will take on MLS side, Chicago Fire, this Wed., Feb. 22 at 4:00 p.m. The match will be streamed live at http://live.imgacademytv.com/.
FCC Starting lineup:
Mitch Hildebrandt, Pat McMahon, Paul Nicholson, Harrison Delbridge, Tyler Polak, Kenney Walker, Aodhan Quinn, Kadeem Dacres, Eric Stevenson, Casey Townsend, Victor Mansaray
14th: Alejandro Covarrubias (OKC)
58th: Daryl Fordyce (FCC)
71st: Wojciech Wojcik (OKC)
82nd: Wojciech Wojcik (OKC)
89th: Austin Berry (FCC)