This Wednesday, FC Dallas will be traveling a short distance to Southern Methodist University in order to take on USL affiliate Energy FC in this year's Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
With the Energy currently playing exceptionally well, FC Dallas may have a tough task ahead of them. Currently, the Oklahoma City-based club saw an eight-game unbeaten run that began on the second week of the season come to an end over the weekend. They are currently eighth place in the USL Western Conference.
History against OKC
The last three match-ups between the sides resulted in three wins for FC Dallas. The Energy suffered a 4-1 defeat from their MLS affiliate back in last year's fourth round U.S. Open Cup draw, where both Michael Barrios and David Texeira scored braces. Their second meeting occurred in late February as FC Dallas narrowly scraped by the USL side to claim a 2-1 win at Energy's home field, Taft Stadium. Goals from Atiba Harris and Timo Pitter helped propel Dallas to victory, however, an own goal from Zach Loyd kept the USL side close to their heels. The third match took place following FC Dallas' home opener against the Philidelphia Union, where Dallas played a reserve team against OKC. Dallas was able to grab another 2-1 win against the USL side with goals coming from new man Carlos Lizarazo and Agustin Jara.
OKC in the USOC
Although Dallas has been able to defeat the Energy in their last three meetings, the Oklahoma City side will look to continue their successful cup run as one of the last USL teams in the tournament. The Energy has won both of their U.S. Open Cup matches in extra time, narrowly defeating the Premier Development League club Mississippi Brilla in penalty kicks 10-9 and the NASL side Rayo OKC with an extra-time goal from substitute Kyle Hyland.
Energy FC's winning result against cross-town rivals Rayo OKC should strike some fear into FC Dallas fans. The USL club was able to beat the higher rated Rayo Vallecano affiliate club, who has the likes of former FC Dallas penalty taker Michel, Celtic FC striker Georgios Samaras, and former Fulham midfielder Derrek Boateng. However, through tactical coaching from ex-Sporting KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen, the Energy was able to dominate the NASL side.
Key players for OKC
Key players FC Dallas fans should keep their eyes on include Sebastian Dalgaard, Michael Thomas, and Danni Konig. Dalgaard reigns from Denmark, where he spent five years playing throughout Denmark's lower leagues. However, since joining the Energy in 2015, the midfielder has made 37 appearances and scored seven goals. The 24-year-old's ability to slow down the speed of the game and make the right pass should have Dallas keeping tight pressure on the midfielder.
The second player FC Dallas should look out for is former Notre Dame star, Michael Thomas. The midfielder has spent time playing for historic clubs in Sweden before making a return home in 2012. Upon returning to the states, Thomas had spent time with MLS side Sporting Kansas City and Toronto FC, however, the midfielder struggled to find consistent playing time. In 2014, the 28-year-old became the Energy's first ever player ahead of their 2014 inaugural season. Thomas has played 61 matches in Oklahoma City since 2014, scoring seven goals. Dallas should look to defend the quick link up play between Thomas and Dalgaard as well as the tactical skill of Notre Dame grad.
Last player Dallas should keep their eye on is the 2015 USL Golden Boot runner-up Danni Konig. The 29-year-old is an experienced striker who has spent time in Denmark's top leagues. After spending six years at the senior level of his home country, Konig made the trip to link up with Nielsen, who elevated striker's career. Since joining the Energy in 2015, Konig has played 39 matches and scored an outstanding 24 goals. FC Dallas should look out for his powerful shot and controlled ability in the air.
The Oklahoma City Energy are a terrific USL side with heart and tenacity, however, as good as they have been against other American competition, it'd be hard to see an FC Dallas loss.
The match starts on Wednesday, June 15, at Southern Methodist University's Westcott Field at 7:30 PM CST.
Editor’s Note: FCD Homegrown player Coy Craft and rookie Colin Bonner are not currently with OKC for this match and are training with FCD. They are not cap-tied to OKC for the USOC tournament either.