An even first half shifted momentum in the 24th minute when Zach Ellis-Hayden was shown a straight red card for a late challenge. The Greens went on the defensive for the remainder of the half, choosing to try and hit Memphis on the counterattack and coming close on a couple of occasions while the backline held strong.
Sure enough, it was a counterattack that ended up deciding the game. Just two minutes into the second half, a long ball over the top sprung Deklan Wynne down the left wing. Wynne picked out a streaking Villyan Bijev with a square pass into the penalty area, and what came next was something truly special. Bijev’s first touch, in stride, lifted it over his defender, and with his second touch, he calmly slotted the ball past the goalkeeper.
Memphis dominated possession and had the majority of the scoring chances the remainder of the match, but CJ Cochran produced seven saves and the team held on to keep its seventh clean sheet of the season.
Energy FC moves up to 29 points and up to 4th place in the Central Division.
The Greens next head to Sporting Kansas City II on Saturday, September 4. They return home to Taft Stadium on Sunday, September 12 at 5 p.m. CT against Louisville City FC. Tickets are available at energyfc.com/september12.
OKC: Bijev (Wynne), 47’
MEM: Fortune (Yellow Card), 8’
OKC: Batista (Yellow Card), 19’
OKC: Ellis-Hayden (Red Card), 24’
MEM: Logue (Yellow Card), 70’
OKC: Cochran (Yellow Card), 90+1’
OKC Starting XI: GK: CJ Cochran; D: Conor Donovan (c), Mitch Osmond, Lamar Batista; M: Zach Ellis-Hayden, Deklan Wynne; M: Hiroki Kurimoto, Charlie Ward (Brad Dunwell, 68’); F: Jaime Chavez (Jon Brown, 68’, Aidan Daniels, 90+2’), Seyi Adekoya (Tucker Stephenson, 31’), Villyan Bijev (Arun Basuljevic, 68’)
Subs not used: Kyle Ihn, Kodai Iida
MEM Starting XI: GK: GK: Cropper; D: Segbers, Reynolds (Gonzalez, 70’), Thomas (Salazar, 58’), Logue; M: Paul (c), Dacres (Dally, 83’) Fortune (Oduro, 70’), Kissiedou; F: Winn (Lamah, 58’), Murphy
Subs not used: Scott, Evans