OKLAHOMA CITY (Saturday, Feb. 27) – FC Dallas’ Atiba Harris scored and picked up an assist in a 2-1 win against its USL affiliate Oklahoma Energy FC, 2-1, tonight at Taft Stadium
FC Dallas opened the scoring in the fifth minute when Tesho Akindele accepted a pass, turned and ran at the OKC Energy defense. Akindele’s dribble opened space on the right flank for defender Harris to get forward. The St. Kitts and Nevis man made his move and Akindele curled a pass with the outside of his foot for Harris, who cracked a right-footed shot with his first touch. The line-drive blast gave Oklahoma City goalkeeper Cody Laurendi no chance to react before catching the far upper corner of the goal to give Dallas an early 1-0 lead.
The visitors went up 2-0 in the 15th minute on another first-touch strike. Harris was involved again. The defender took a pass from Mauro Rosalez on the right side and fed a ball across the top of the area to Timo Pitter. The German, drafted in the second round of last month’s MLS SuperDraft, buried the shot in the far upper corner.
Oklahoma City pulled a goal back in the 27th minute, when Michael Byskov broke free inside the area and got off a hard shot towards the back post. The midfielder’s shot appeared to be headed wide of the back post but the velocity of the shot gave FC Dallas defender Zach Loyd little chance to get out of the way. In a stroke of bad luck, the ball caught a piece of Loyd and trickled into the back of the net to make it 2-1.
Akindele nearly gave Dallas its second two-goal lead of the night in the 43rd minute. The Canadian international pounded a header on goal on a corner kick served in by Rosales, but Laurendi came up with a huge, diving save to his left side.
FC Dallas held on to the ball and preserved its lead for much of the second half but Oklahoma City pushed forward in search of a game-tying goal in the final minutes of the match. Pitter eased the pressure for Dallas several times with long dribbles down the right flank. He nearly picked up an assist on a shot by Akindele in the 78th minute, after weaving his way through the Energy FC defense.
Pitter setup defender Agustin Jara in a similar fashion in the 87th minute but the trailist pushed his back-post header just wide of the post.
DAL – Atiba Harris (Tesho Akindele) 5
DAL – Timo Pitter (Atiba Harris, Mauro Rosales) 15
OKC – own goal (Zach Loyd) 27
FC Dallas – Chris Seitz, *Agustin Jara, Walker Zimmerman, Zach Loyd (Moises Hernandez 79), Atiba Harris (Ryan Hollingshead 57), ^Timo Pitter, Victor Ulloa (Kellyn Acosta 58), Juan Esteban Ortiz, Mauro Rosales (Aaron Guillen 79), Tesho Akindele, ^Colin Bonner.
Substitutes Not Used: ^Ryan Herman, Moises Hernandez, Matt Hedges, Maynor Figueroa, Aaron Guillen, Carlos Gruezo, Fabian Castillo, Mauro Diaz, Max Urruti.
OKC Energy FC – Cody Laurendi, Michael Thomas, Cyprian Hedrick, Coady Andrews, Kalen Ryden, Gareth Evans, Michael Byskov (Daniel Gonzalez 70), Casey Townsend (Tim Johnson 70), Sebastian Dalgaard (Daniel Jackson 70), Danni König, Evans Frimpong.
Substitutes Not Used: CJ Cochran, Tim Janssen, Kyle Hyland, Luis Martinez, Jordan Rideout, Daniel Gonzalez, Shawn McLaws, Michael Harris, Jacob Lissek, Daniel Jackson.
^ Unsigned 2016 SuperDraft pick
OKC – Michael Byskov (caution) 17
DAL – Juan Esteban Ortiz (caution) 82