By Datti Jinkiri
Any time a substitute player is brought in, he is expected to make a difference in the match. When the manager calls, you must answer the bell. That is exactly what Brilla forward Newton Henry did tonight, and his impact was immediate.
Henry heeded the call from manager Mark McKeever after halftime and scored in the 48th minute. His goal proved to be the game-winning goal in Brilla's 2-1 win over previously undefeated Oklahoma City Energy U23s.
Henry's goal was well-taken. He received a pass from Oscar Jimenez and used his strength to hold off the Energy defender. Henry then made a quick turn with his second touch and drilled a shot past by keeper Michael Nelson with his third touch.
Henry scored the winner, but it was Oscar Jimenez who put in a man of the match performance. The Seattle native scored once and added an assist on Henry's goal during his 90 minutes of action.
In the 10th minute, Jake McCain received a well weighted pass from defender Joe Hulme and subsequently played a low cross to the back post that Jimenez finished. It was Jimenez's first goal of the season.
The Energy equalized just six minutes later. Forward Ben Conway headed down a cross into the path of Noah Keats, and Keats blasted the shot past keeper Brendan Ledgeway. However, that was the only blemish on Ledgeway's play tonight. The Englishman finished with six saves, including a point blank save in the first half that kept the match level. That helped set the stage for Henry's second half winning goal.
Brilla will return to action on Sunday night versus the same Energy squad. Brilla's playoff hopes hang in the balance, and they know that a win on Sunday will put them right back into the thick of the playoff race. Kickoff at Traceway Park will be at 7:00 PM.