Following yet another disappointing away result Wednesday night, the Oklahoma City Energy FC will return home to Taft Stadium Saturday to take on cross-state rivals, the Tulsa Roughnecks, in this season’s final Black Gold Derby match.
Having lost 2-0 during the mid-week against Western Conference rivals, the Colorado Switchbacks, the Energy will hope to return to winning form against the lower-rated Tulsa Roughnecks, who OKC have beaten three out of three times this USL season. In the rivals’ past three meetings, the Energy have thumped the Roughnecks, scoring a total of seven goals while conceding none. Most recently, Oklahoma City traveled to the Roughnecks’ stadium, scoring a classy two goals that ended a dreadful three-match scoreless streak.
Having gone another match without scoring a goal, the Energy will look to restart their offense once again Saturday night against the Roughnecks. With the USL playoffs looming, Jimmy Nielsen will need to get his attackers back into form, especially Danni Konig, who has been a shadow of his former self. However, if the Danish striker is unable to return to last year’s form, Energy fans should refrain from being discouraged. With the recent signing of former Seattle Sounders striker Andy Craven, the Energy have found themselves an adequate and consistent scorer that can take over matches when he is in form. Although Craven’s debut for the club resulted in a disappointing loss, the former Sounders’ striker effort and presence was second to none. The 24-year-old displayed a ruthlessness attitude, closing down defenses quickly. In addition, Craven’s passing was uncanny for the Energy, setting up multiple chances that were inevitable not converted. Nevertheless, OKC will hope that Konig will be able to convert this weekend to kick off his form once again, however, if not, Nielsen has a special trick up his sleeve, who is Andy Craven.
Overall, this weekend’s match will be an enjoyable spectacle for Energy fans to watch. Having won the previous three matches, the Boys in Green should wrap up Saturday night’s final Black Gold Derby match quickly and calmly. If I were a Tulsa Roughnecks fan, this would definitely be a match to avoid watching.
Prediction: Energy FC win 2-0
Predicted Starting Lineups:
OKC Energy FC: Konig, Craven, Dalgaard, Gonzalez, Thomas, Pitter, Ryden, Andrews, Hendrick, Harris, Laurendi
Tulsa Roughnecks: Taylor, Ochoa, Villalobos, LaGrassa, Henri, Martinez, Davoren, Morgan, Schafer, Abidor, Mangels
Date: August 27, 2016
Time: 8:00 PM CDT
Location: Taft Stadium, Oklahoma City, OK