The Oklahoma City Energy FC’s 2017 season has been rough, to say the least. After grabbing their first win in four games on April 11, they turned right around and were blown out in a 3-0 defeat on April 29 against the Grande Valley Toros FC.
Noticing the disappointment, Energy FC head coach Jimmy Nielsen has already begun switching up the roster. During the week, longtime fan favorite and goal scorer Danni Konig was traded to FC Cincinnati in exchange for former short-term OKC player Andy Craven. This move signifies the club’s ambition to fix their recent offensive woes. In the Energy’s first five matches, they have only scored three goals. By trading for the former Seattle Sounders forward Craven, Jimmy Nielsen and company will be looking to revamp before their slip to far down the rabbit’s hole.
The Energy’s weekend opponent will be Drogba FC or Phoenix Rising FC. After making their MLS ambitions clear by signing Chelsea FC legend Didier Drogba during the offseason, Phoenix is making a loud statement for expansion. Although their MLS ambitions are well and alive, their USL season isn’t close. Phoenix currently sits eleventh in the Western Conference with six points from two wins and three losses. This position in the table puts them two spots ahead of the Energy while remaining three below the playoff line.
Phoenix’s season hasn’t been anything too spectacular; however, that does not mean the Energy can let up in this match. Phoenix possesses a plethora of quick attackers, including Jason Johnson, Omar Bravo, and Chris Cortez. Phoenix also contracts former FC Dallas winger Eric Avila and former Chelsea FC winger Shaun Wright-Phillips. With their MLS ambitions, Phoenix has developed a squad that could potentially challenge any MLS side, but do the squads unfamiliarity, it may take the team some time before things click. With that being said, the OKC Energy need to take advantage of this time and attempt to grab at least a point away from home this weekend.
Projected starting XI:
Energy FC: Laurendi; R. Dixon, Daly, Andrews, Wallace; A. Dixon, Rasmussen, Covarrubias, Craft, M. Gonzalez; Wojcik
Phoenix Rising: Cohen; Vasquez, Stewart, Ramage, Gray; Watson, Riggi, Rooney, Wright-Phillips; Cortez, Bravo
Location: PHX Rising Soccer Complex
Time & Date: 9:30 PM CT on May 13
Prediction: OKC draw 1-1 (M. Gonzalez 1x; Luna 1x)