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USL Preview: Oklahoma City Energy FC vs Portland Timbers 2

After yet another stale 1-1 draw against Saint Louis FC during the week, the Oklahoma City Energy FC will pack up their bags in Missouri as they prepare to travel due North to Merlo Stadium in Portland, Oregon to take on the Portland Timbers 2 late Sunday night.

Following Wednesday night’s difficult draw against STLFC, the OKC Energy will look to get back on track against Western Conference bottom feeders, the Portland Timbers 2. Sunday night’s match is set to be the clubs’ first encounter this season, previously squaring off in August 2015, concluding with a thrilling a 4-3 victory for the Energy. The previous meeting began with OKC taking a commanding and dominant 4-0 lead in the first half, however, an exciting and brilliant comeback composed by the Timbers lead to a near-epic comeback for the Portland side. Nevertheless, with the weekend’s match approaching closer every minute, Jimmy Nielsen and his side will want to forget about last year’s near-meltdown against T2.

Speaking of forgetting, the Portland Timbers 2 will want to repress this season’s record into the back of their head, for, the MLS feeder-team currently sits second to last in the Western Conference standings, only one position ahead of the Energy’s rivals, the Tulsa Roughnecks. Throughout the club’s 25 regular season USL matches, they have conceded a respectable 39 goals, which results in a total of 1.56 goals conceded per match. Although their defense may seem reasonable, it is Portland’s offense that represents the club’s total downfall. Over the span of this USL season, T2 has only scored 26 goals, nearly averaging a meager one goal per match, which leaves the Timbers as the second worse offense in the Western Conference, once again, only behind the Tulsa Roughnecks.

Having enjoyable past meetings against the Tulsa Roughnecks, the OKC Energy will look forward to their weekend match against the Timbers. Being only a few points ahead of the Roughnecks, the Timbers should not impede the Energy’s success. In the Energy’s four matches against the Roughnecks this year, they scored a total of eight goals while conceding a draw-dropping zero, clearly showing the opposite directions both sides have taken this season.

Although the Energy have struggled vigorously when it comes to scoring, when it comes to playing a significant weaker opposition, the Energy always put home a few goals. As they boys in green continue to fight for supremacy in the Western Conference ahead of the upcoming playoffs, they will need to take home all three possible points.

Overall, Sunday night’s match should prove to be a walk in the park for the Energy. If Jimmy Nielsen and company can return to scoring ways, the Energy should walk out of Portland with their heads held high, carrying three comfortable points home with them.

Predicted Starting Lineups:

OKC Energy FC: Konig, Craven, Byskov, Gonzalez, Thomas, Pitter, Ryden, Andrews, Hendrick, Harris, Laurendi

Portland Timbers 2: McIntosh, Arokoyo, Clarke, Klute, Besler, Casiple, Arboleda, Bijev, Bodily, Williams

Match Information:

Date: September 4, 2016

Time: 9:00 PM CDT

Location: Merlo Field, Portland, Oregon

Watch: Streamed on the USL's Youtube Channel