It was goals, goals, goals as Oklahoma City FC (OKC FC) claimed a 5-0 victory over the Houston Dutch Lions tonight at Oklahoma City University’s Stars Field. The game, before a crowd of 1,191 supporters, marked the season finale for both clubs.
Although the team fell just shy of a playoff berth in its debut season (due to a victory by the Laredo Heat on July 18), the squad played an up tempo style of attacking soccer.
OKC FC Head Coach Jimmy Hampton said the win marked a good end to the season.
“5-0 at home in front of our home crowd,” He said. “There always a start and a finish to everything and when you finish like that it leaves a good taste in your mouth. It gives you something good to build on for down the road.”
Goals for the home side came from midfielder Niall Crick (4th minute), forward Tommy Hubbard (28th minute), forward Nicolas Alberto (79th minute), forward Adam Black (83th minute) and midfielder Danny Frid (85th minute). Frid had a pair of assists while Black also tallied one assist.
Hampton said the team’s 4-2-3-1 is designed to control possession in the midfield.
“Thought we’d wear them down eventually,” He said. “When you win it in the midfield you can create (goal scoring) chances.”
The Houston Dutch Lions countered with a 4-4-2 formation, said head coach Han Van Arum.
“We chose it because Oklahoma plays very fast with a lot of long balls and to help us win second balls,” he said.
OKC FC led 2-0 at halftime thanks to goals by Crick and Hubbard. Crick said his goal was a combination of skill and luck.
“We got lucky when we put the ball the in box,” Crick said. “Danny (Frid) found me in some space and I put it past the keeper.”
Van Arum said his team made adjustments at halftime, which he felt were working better until the 66th minute. That’s when Houston defender Ray Saari received a straight red card for arguing with the referee.
“He said something ugly to the referee and that was it,” Van Arum said.
“We are an inexperienced team as this is the first year in the league for many of the players,” He said.
“We need to win games with our characteristics such as mental toughness,” Van Arum said.
Although they maintained a 2-0 lead at halftime, OKC FC continued to press the attack in the second half. Black, who had a shot on goal go wide in the first half, said such an attitude is the norm.
“As a forward, I’m always looking to try and score,” he said, “you just gotta keep going. Hopefully, you get another chance and take it.”
OKC FC goalkeeper Jennings Clark made two second-half saves to notch the club’s fourth shutout of the season.
OKC FC’s final record was 8-4-2, from which the team earned 26 points and a third-place finish in the Premier Developmental League (PDL)’s Mid-South division. The PDL, along with the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL), comprise the fourth highest level of men’s soccer in the United States.
The team finished the season behind the Austin Aztex (35 points) and the Laredo Heat (28 points) in the division standings. Austin and Laredo will represent the Mid-South division in post-season play.