By Matthew Will
FC Wichita defeated Oklahoma City FC 2-0 in a defensive showcase for goalkeeper Jami Reichenberger from beginning to end. In the first minute of the game, Reichenberger made two stellar saves back-to-back.
Fresh off a 4-2 win at home against Texas Spurs FC, FC Wichita (3-1-0) controlled their own destiny. Going into the Sunday afternoon game in Oklahoma City against Oklahoma City FC, FC Wichita knew a win would sit them alone atop the conference standings. And they did exactly that.
“[Jami] kept us in the game early.” Assistant coach Aaron Avila said. “I mean, one of those two goes in, it is probably a completely different game.”
The following minutes were somewhat eventless, the only action being turnovers in the midfield. It was not until the 10th minute that another opportunity arose. Oklahoma City FC (2-1-0) had two solid possessions, putting two shots close but not on target.
After bringing in a sub in the 14th minute, FC Wichita fueled their first offensive push of the game, resulting in a corner kick. Dora Gallo came forward to take the kick and placed it nearly dead center into the box. The ball was deflected almost directly back to Gallo, and she made the keeper pay, sending a strike to the top left corner, breaking the scoreless tie.
Oklahoma City FC followed the goal by receiving a corner kick of their own but could not convert. Both teams subbed many times in the next 20 minutes, with no real opportunities either way in that time.
In the 35th minute,Oklahoma City FC took a free kick from just outside the box, but Reichenberger stepped up for the save. Despite OKC making several desperation drives together at the end of the half, the game remained tied at the break.
Oklahoma City FC opened the second half with just about five minutes of consistent possession. This included three corner kicks, all of which Reichenberger stopped. It was at this point that FC Wichita flipped the field, putting up four good possession in a span of 10 minutes.
Oklahoma City FC returned to the corner flag again in the 59th minute, but still could not sneak a ball past Reichenberger. A foul awarded OKC a free kick just outside the box in the 61st minute.
The next minute, FC Wichita was awarded a goal kick on a shot off target by OKC. Reichenberger sent it about two-thirds down the pitch, off an Oklahoma City FC head and to the feet of forward Peyton Vincze. The Oklahoma City FC keeper played the ball but could not get there in time. Vincze sent the ball to the side, ran it down and buried a well needed insurance goal for FC Wichita.
Oklahoma City FC got their fifth corner of the half in the 64th minute but aired the ball far across the field.
The next 20 minutes of the game were back and forth opportunities, both keepers bosting their save counts, but not allowing any goals. Finally, OKC found some good opportunities in the final five minutes, trying to find the scoreboard. The FC Wichita defensive line strengthened up and kept Reichenberger’s clean sheet intact to the final whistle.
“Overall, the girls worked hard.” Avila said. “The girls went out and executed.”
FC Wichita would go on to secure the 2-0 win, moving them to 3-1-0 on the year, putting them at first in the southwest conference with nine points. The all-time series with Oklahoma City FC improved to 2-1-0, undefeated on the road.
The FC Wichita Women return to action Wednesday, June 6 at 7 p.m. to finish the season series with Oklahoma City FC. That game will take place at Trinity Academy in Wichita. You can purchase your tickets here.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Reichenberger not only recorded 18 saves but also a shutout, her first of the season. If that was not enough already, she assisted on the Vincze goal as well.
BY THE NUMBERS
Jami Reichenberger recorded 18 saves in the win against Oklahoma City FC. Ten of those occurred in the second half, a showcase in goal for her.
Oklahoma City FC had six attempts from the corner post on Sunday afternoon. FC Wichita also had six offsides calls against them.
FC Wichita committed four fouls in the game. This also marked the fourth game this season they have gone without being awarded a card of any color.