Albuquerque Sol FC secured an important 3-2 win against a disjointed Oklahoma Energy U23 Sunday night, after losing 1-0 to them two days prior. The decisive goal came in the 83rd minute from a penalty kick by Luke Lawrence, after being subbed in the second half.
“This win means a lot,” Lawrence said after the match. “We’ve been working really hard. When that hard work pays off, it feels good. We’ve been pretty unlucky. [The difference] tonight was our mindset going into the game, but also Sergio [Rivas] coming in and playing big minutes really, really helped us. He opens space a lot, and when space opens, it leaves space for more attackers and more opportunities.”
Both sides battled with Oklahoma looking to continue their winning streak, while the Sol were desperate for a win. The 90-minute match saw only one card served, a yellow to the Sol’s Patrick Pacheco, though two handballs were called, one for each side, earning a penalty kick for each and a goal.
Sunday’s match was only the second loss this season for the Energy. Defensive midfielder Hellah Sidibe spoke about what went wrong for their team.
“We lost a bit of defensive composure on our side,”Sidibe explained. “We were a little unorganized and it back fired in the end. We have to move on, we can’t keep our head down. We’ll look forward to the next one and try to fix it.”
Despite their loss, the Energy remains second in the Mid South Division standings.
After dominating most of the division last season, the Sol have struggled to find the back of the net this year. The team sits in fourth place out of five teams currently in the Mid-South Division, after losing five games so far this season.
To help turn things around, the Sol brought in Seattle University mid-fielder and Albuquerque native, Sergio Rivas. The 18-year-old earned numerous awards and accolades during his New Mexico high school career, including the Golden Boot in 2014. In only his fourth game with the Sol and his first start Sunday night, he broke through the Energy defense to open the scoreboard in the 14th minute.
“The team has been great, I feel like they trust me with the ball now,” Rivas said of his new team. “This win is absolutely fantastic. We had a little bit of a slump and weren’t scoring many goals. We changed the formation tonight to a 4-3-3; I think that gave us a little more chances up top.”
Chances to score is what the Sol need with the playoffs looming, winning is essential.
“We still have to win from here on out,” Lawrence added. “Our next goal is to get back to practice, work hard, and focus on the next game.”
OKC Energy U23 will face Saint Louis FC U23 Saturday, after the Sol FC face them in Albuquerque Thursday evening. Saint Louis are currently in last place in the division.