USLSoccer.com Staff Report
Sunday, February 21, 2016
BRADENTON, Fla. – Casey Townsend scored the only goal as OKC Energy FC took its second consecutive preseason win with a 1-0 victory against USL rival Orlando City B on Sunday afternoon at IMG Academy.
Townsend’s goal arrived in the eighth minute, as Sebastian Dalgaard intercepted a pass in Orlando’s half, and quickly found Townsend on the right side. The attacking midfielder moved into the penalty area, and sent his shot into the top-right corner past Orlando goalkeeper Mark Ridgers.
Energy FC had the better of the game for much of the first half, but was unable to add to its lead as Orlando did well to close down the opportunities OKC created. Orlando’s best chance before the break came on a free kick from 20 yards out, but Craig Nitti’s shot went into the defensive wall.
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After making some changes at the break, Orlando improved in the second half as veteran midfielder Lewis Neal linked play well to give the Lions more of a rhythm as they moved into attack. The Lions pushed for an equalizer, but Cody Laurendi recorded four saves to record the shutout and preserve Energy FC’s victory.
“Overall, I think the first 35 minutes is a gigantic improvement,” said OKC Coach Jimmy Nielsen. “Extremely well-organized, created some good chances, scored a good goal, very solid and what I’ve been looking for with us taking it to the next level.”Energy FC will return to Oklahoma City on Monday as it gears up for its first home preseason contest of the season, which comes this Saturday against its MLS partner FC Dallas at Taft Stadium.