The Oklahoma City Energy needed a penalty shootout to overtake the Colorado Springs Switchbacks in the Western Conference Semifinal of the 2015 USL Playoffs.
The playoff fixture featured three ex-Kitsap Pumas players who were instrumental in leading the club to the 2014 PDL National Championship final.
While Daniel Gonzalez and Chuy Sanchez have combined to produce important goals for the Oklahoma City Energy in their championship run, Miguel Gonzalez has exploded onto the USL scene with the Colorado Springs Switchbacks finishing the regular season tied for seventh in the entire USL for overall points.
Although the Switchbacks took the lead early on with a goal from their top scorer Luke Vercollone, the Energy equalized on a header from former Kitsap Puma midfielder Chuy Sanchez on the stroke of halftime. After beating two defenders, Daniel Gonzalez served an inviting cross into the box where Sanchez was able to lose his marker on a perfectly timed run and head home the tying goal into the bottom left corner of the net.
The diminutive Sanchez, who is not typically an aerial threat, was smartly able to find space inbetween Switchback defenders in the center of the penalty area and fully take advantage of Colorado’s lapse in marking.
“I have been playing with Danny for the past two years now and we just have that connection knowing where one another is at on the field,” said Sanchez. “He served a great ball and all I had to do was redirect it into the net.”
After the full time whistle blew, the two teams went into overtime still tied at 1-1. About halfway through the first overtime, Oklahoma City found the break through they had been looking for since Sanchez’s equalizer on a beautiful strike from the top of the box by Peabo Doue. However Aaron King quickly replied for Colorado Springs forcing a penalty shootout to be the deciding factor.
The Energy would go on to win the shootout 4-3 after their goalkeeper Evan Newton saved shots by Martin Maybin and Miguel Gonzalez.
Miguel Gonzalez finishes his rookie season in the USL with the Switchbacks with an impressive 10 goals and 7 assists for a total of 27 points.
The victory was the Energy’s first postseason win in club history and with that win Oklahoma City will now host LA Galaxy II in the Western Conference Final next Sunday at 7 p.m. ET.
Be sure to tune in this Sunday on the USL YouTube channel to see the former Kitsap Puma fan favorites as well as former coach James Ritchie lead the Energy in pursuit of their first ever USL title!