Oklahoma City Energy

Tulsa Roughnecks

USL side Tulsa terminates player’s contract after racially abusing opponent

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USL club Tulsa Roughnecks have announced they terminated the contract of midfielder Fabian Bastidas after it was learned he racially abused an opposing player during a match against Oklahoma City Energy on Saturday.

After the 1-1 draw, current Oklahoma City player and former MLS defender Atiba Harris posted on social media that he was racially abused by an unnamed player during the match. When that player was identified as Bastidas, the club terminated his contract effective immediately.

“The Tulsa Roughnecks announced today the termination of Fabian Bastidas’ contract with the club following his use of foul and abusive language during last night’s match with OKC Energy FC,” the club said in a statement announcing the termination. “The player’s actions are a violation of the league’s zero-tolerance policy, and do not represent the beliefs and values of our club — nor the community we represent. As an organization, we sincerely apologize to Atiba Harris and OKC Energy FC, and will do what is necessary to prevent this type of behavior in the future.”

“What [Bastidas] said is a disgrace,” said Oklahoma City manager Steve Cooke. “In any other walk of life it’s wrong. In our walk of live, albeit on a soccer field, I think people at times can hide behind the veil of competition and say, ‘Well, I just lost my emotion.’ But that’s too easy. In our industry, our profession, we have to be better.”

Bastidas, a 25-year-old Brooklyn native who joined Tulsa in January, took to Instagram to defend his actions, attempting to explain that “nothing malicious or racist was or will ever be intended” by his words.

VIDEO: Incredible flip-throw, bicycle kick combo goal

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What a goal.

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From the front flip into a long throw to a mind-boggling bicycle kick, Oklahoma City Energy FC of the USL may have scored one of the best goals you’ll ever see.

Mario Gonzalez scored a goal worthy of winning any game as OKC beat Sacramento Republic 1-0 on Tuesday.

Click play on the video below to see Gonzalez’s incredible bicycle kick which came after Michael Harris’ amazing flip throw.

There is some debate as to whether the flip-throw is legal… but who cares!?

Showdown in Oklahoma City: NASL team with La Liga ties rivals USL side

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There’s a soccer showdown in the 405 and, at the very least, it’s given us a video with an animated bird flying from Spain to Oklahoma City.

Already boasting the Energy, a new but well-supported side in the United Soccer League, Oklahoma City is getting its own NASL club as well in Rayo OKC.

The majority owner is the owner of Rayo Vallecano of La Liga, and Rayo OKC will start play in 2016. The club’s minority owner owns Oklahoma City in the Women’s Professional Soccer League.

The million-dollar question, however, is how will this work on the staging ground that is OKC?

[ MORE: Where does this rank among the worst PKs of all-time? ]

The NASL is in the second division of American soccer, under the MLS and currently above the USL. The USL has declared its intentions to move into second division status and rival the NASL.

Oklahoma City Energy saw a grass roots effort boost it to the seventh-best average attendance in the USL last year, at just over 4,600 fans per game. Rayo OKC will be playing in a 6,000-seater.

Single game seats for the Energy are between $14-46, while Rayo OKC’s single game range is between $12-40.

It’s fairly clear that the headline-grabbing NASL is hoping that the USL’s close relationship to MLS, with many MLS-2 sides and connections, will keep it down a tier in the OKC market.

Madrid, Rome, London… and Oklahoma City? Is the United States’ 42nd-biggest metropolitan statistical area big enough for two teams? And who wins: Lightning or Energy?