Year Founded: 2013
Affiliation: FC Dallas
2016 record, place in Conference standings (W-L-D): 10-7-13, 7th place in Western Conference
2016 playoffs: Conference Semifinals
Key additions: Anthony Wallace, Alex Dixon, Miguel Gonzalez
Key departures: Sebastian Dalgaard, Michael Thomas, Cyprian Hedrick
Projected/ideal starting XI (4-1-2-1-2): Cody Laurendi; Richard Dixon, Sam Fink, Coady Andrews Anthony Wallace; Alejandro Covarrubias, Juan Guzman, Jose Barril, Daniel Gonzalez; Miguel Gonzalez, Danni Konig
The Oklahoma City Energy FC are coming off of a lopsided season. After becoming one of the league’s most dominating offensive forces in 2015, the Energy’s 2016 form fell quite a bit. Contracting the 2015 USL Golden Boot runner-up Danni Konig, OKC relied heavily upon the striker for goal production in the 2016 season. However, the Danish attacker was unable to provide OKC with the goal tally he accumulated the year prior. Unable to find a scoring replacement, the club struggled throughout the season to grab a lead against their opposition, resulting in a plethora of draws.
Despite the dip in form last season, the Energy have made a considerable amount of offseason changes. Head Coach Jimmy Nielsen and his staff went to work over the winter break, signing reinforcements and getting rid of weak links. Although they possessed one of the best defenses in the USL last season, OKC strengthened their backline significantly, adding former MLS veterans and young USL stars in the process. Although last season was somewhat of a disappointment, the offseason work from Jimmy Nielsen and company suggests that the Energy’s 2017 season will build off the flaws of 2016.
Why you should watch Energy in 2017
Although the Oklahoma City Energy FC’s 2016 season wasn’t what fans expected, they should take solace in the fact that Jimmy Nielsen has put in the work this offseason to help boost the squad for 2017. Creating a squad of MLS veterans, Danish first division stars, and USL youngsters, the OKC Energy possess a squad fit to make a run into the playoffs. If OKC can fix their scoring issues, there is no doubt that OKC will be a shout for an early potential USL Champion.
Three players to watch
Cody Laurendi: The Man Bun and Beard are back. After becoming a hero in OKC’s 2016 season, the shot blocker is set to dawn the OKC jersey yet again. Earning an international call up with Puerto Rico due to his strong domestic performances, the shot blocker’s stock is surely to go up. Fans beware potential suitors.
Danni Konig: After somewhat of a lackluster 2016 season, the former USL Golden Boot Runner-up will hope to get his scoring back on track. There is no doubt that head coach Jimmy Nielsen will give the Danish striker his final chance. However, this may be the last chance that the striker will receive before his booted to the bench.
Daniel & Miguel Gonzalez: After playing against one another last season, brothers Daniel and Miguel Gonzalez have reunited in Oklahoma City to further their footballing careers together. The Mexican link will provide the Energy with an extra chemistry boost that will be inevitably present on the field this season.
The 2017 season will be a success if...
If Danni Konig returns to past form the OKC Energy will have one of the strongest offenses in the Western Conference. If the massive defensive shake up gels well, OKC could have themselves a strong defense for years to come. If Cody Laurendi continues in his air-defying ways, the Energy could see themselves allowing a meager amount of goals this season.
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