By Datti Jinkiri
Tonight's Mid South Division matchup was a battle of two undefeated rivals. However, only one team, the Oklahoma City Energy U-23s, would emerge unscathed. The Energy used two first-half goals to topple Brilla 2-1 at Clinton High School.
The visitors had a dream start to the rain-delayed match. Striker Julio Moncada opened up the scoring in the 9th minute when he latched onto a Brilla clearance and fired a venomous shot into the top corner.
The Energy's lead stretched to two in the 30th minute. Midfielder Timo Melich beat goalkeeeper Jordan Bell with a well-struck free kick from 20 yards away. Bell got an outstretched palm on the shot, but it was not enough to keep the ball out of the net.
Carlos Garces, Chakib Hocine, and Sinclaire Sandy had golden opportunities to put Brilla on the scoresheet in the first half, but all of their chances went begging. Thus, the Energy led 2-0 at halftime.
Fresh legs made a difference in last week's matches against Brazos Valley, and they did the same again tonight. In the 67th minute, substitute defender Guillaume Campos fired a cross that found the head of fellow substitute Nicco Mastrangelo. Mastrangelo's initial effort was parried away, but his follow up shot found the net. Brilla had life again.
However, a disciplined Oklahoma City defense held Brilla at bay for the rest of the match. Brilla's best opportunity came from Bader Boulajoul's driving run. He was taken down in the box, but the referee swallowed his whistle and let the play continue. Chakib Hocine also had a free-kick opportunity that he fired over the crossbar.
Chakib Hocine and Carlos Garces led Brilla with three shots each tonight. Jordan Bell had two saves in his first loss of the season.
Brilla will hit the road for games next weekend against FC Cleburne (June 9th) and Texas United (June 11th). However, their next home game will be Saturday June 17th against the same FC Cleburne team. Kickoff will be 7:00 P.M at Clinton High School.