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OKC Energy 2016 USL season preview

FC Dallas has a new USL affiliate for 2016, get to know them a little more.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Founded: 2014

MLS Affiliation: FC Dallas

2015 record: 13-7-8 (Second in Western Conference)

2015 playoffs: 2-2 draw (4-3 shootout win) vs. Colorado Springs in West Semifinals; 2-1 loss vs. LA Galaxy II in West Final.

Key additions

M Evans Frimpong, the former Ft. Lauderdale Striker comes to OKC geared with great speed and ball control.

M Luiz Martinez, signed from FC Tucson of the PDL. Was named of PDL's top 50 prospects.

F Tim Janssen, signed from Fortuna Sittard in the Dutch Eerste Divisie.

GK Cody Laurendi, signed from Austin Aztex where he played in 13 matches and collected 49 saves.

Key Departures

GK Evan Newton, signed with Sacramento Republic FC. Was second in USL in 2015 with 89 saves and was a Goalkeeper of the Year finalist.

Projected starting XI (4-2-3-1)

Cody Laurendi; Kaylen Ryden, Coady Andrews, Cyprian Hendrick, Michael Thomas (c); Michael Byskov, Gareth Evans; Sebastian Dalgaard, Casey Townsend, Evans Frimpong; Danni Konig.

Heading into 2016, the OKC Energy have no reason not to be heavily optimistic –– much like FC Dallas –– after making it all the way to the conference finals during a run that saw the team take down Colorado Springs in dramatic, penalty kick action. With 20 goals last season, Golden Boot contender Danni Konig will look to once again be the team's target forward providing plenty of offense. The team also got deeper at that position after picking up Dutch player Tim Janssen.

Defensively, the Energy lost a key asset in goalkeeper Evan Newton. He played in 27 of the team's 28 games and had 89 saves and 10 shutouts. Replacing him will be newcomer Cody Laurendi who was brought over from the Austin Aztex. Outside of the goalkeeper, the starting XI will look very similar from last season. If the Energy can remain healthy and Konig can repeat last year's success, this team has no reason not to compete for the west crown.

Why you should watch OKC Energy in 2016

If you love goalscorers and typical target-forwards, the Energy should be your team. Danni Konig is a nightmare matchup for defenses because of his 6'2" frame and finishing ability. By all accounts, last year was a breakout year for the Dane as he led the league with seven game-winning goals.

3 Players to watch

Cody Laurendi: The former Aztex will be taking over goalkeeper duties from Evan Newton and has plenty of USL experience under his belt.

Evans Frimpong: After starting his career with Reading United in England, where he scored five goals, Frimpong comes to Oklahoma City where he'll likely start in the midfield and feature his blazing speed and great skills on the ball –– similar to Fabian Castillo.

Casey Townsend: The midfielder has played well in the preseason, scoring two of the Energy's five goals and after being selected with the fifth overall pick in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft by Chivas USA, has bounced around various levels of the U.S. soccer system.

The 2016 season will be a success if the Energy can get to the USL Championship. Last season, the team fell at home to the lower-seeded LA Galaxy II but after making the jump from tenth in the west to second, last season was a wild success. Now, however, the team is an established power in the west so for OKC, it's about winning the conference –– again, much like the expectations FC Dallas is faced with.

More info:

Team Website

Twitter/Instagram – @EnergyFC

Facebook: Energy FC