In a First Round matchup in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, Oklahoma City Energy U-23s were set to travel to Wichita, Kan. to take on FC Wichita in a Wednesday night contest. FC Wichita had qualified for the last three US Open Cups, spanning all three years of the team’s existence and for the second year in a row they advanced in their opening round game, beating the Energy U-23s, 3-1.
Leo Sosa led the way with a pair of goals to earn Wichita a trip to Oklahoma to take on the Tulsa Roughnecks of the USL in Round 2 next week.
The opening 30 minutes were scoreless but eventful. FC Wichita had a couple opportunities including two corner kicks. These minutes were somewhat clean, with only a few fouls and no cards. It was not until the 36th minute that the tie was broken up. FC Wichita’s Leo Sosa, a midfielder, broke through the OKC Energy U-23s back line, beating the keeper with a hard shot.
Before the crowd could even settle, FC Wichita added another goal from Sosa, this time a strong strike from 40 yards out in the 38th minute.
“I’m a guy who’s always ready, my blood is always pumping,” Sosa said. “I just want to go, more and more.”
Other than a couple minute stoppage to assist two player who smacked heads together, the remainder of the first half had little opportunities, keeping it a 2-0 contest heading into the break.
The second half began with fury, as Energy U-23s midfielder Louis Bennett had a couple hard, yet clean, tackles to apply pressure to a now confident FC Wichita squad. The first card of the game was awarded in the 64th minute to FC Wichita midfielder Eddie Gomez and minutes later, OKC Energy was awarded their first yellow card, this one to forward Josh Garcia.
It was not until the 78th minute that OKC Energy U-23 had their first real opportunity of the game. FC Wichita goalkeeper Steve Hamersky misplayed a ball, picking it up just outside the goalie box, giving OKC Energy a great free kick chance, just 20-yards out. A strong strike from Garcia ended Hamersky’s clean sheet, moving the game to 2-1. Not even 30 seconds later, FC Wichita midfielder Taylor Henry was awarded a yellow card on a late tackle.
In the 84th minute, OKC Energy subbed an extra attacker in for a defensive man to attempt to score an equalizing goal. The result was flipped as FC Wichita’s left forward Ben Andoh found the back of the net on a cross by FC Wichita striker Franck Tayou in the five-minute stoppage time at the end of the half. The 3-1 score would hold true to the end, giving FC Wichita a win, their second win in a US Open Cup game.
“Winning a US [Open Cup] game, it has a special feeling,” Gonzalo Carranza, a member of the FC Wichita coaching staff said. “We know we need to continue to step our game up, and we will make sure we do that.”
FC Wichita owned the shots category tonight, taking 18 shots to OKC Energy U-23’s 13. FC Wichita has three corner kicks to OKC Energy U-23’s one. Hamersky recorded 10 saves for FC Wichita and goalkeeper Cooper Clark stopped 13 stops for OKC Energy U-23. FC Wichita was called offsides seven times to OKC Energy U-23’s 5.
FC Wichita advances to the second round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup for the second straight year. They will travel to Tulsa, Oklahoma to play the Tulsa Roughnecks on May 16. The Roughnecks received a first-round bye to automatically advance to the second round. That game kicks off at Hurricane Soccer & Track Stadium in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Kick off has not been announced.