After a successful cup tie during the week, the Oklahoma City Energy FC will return home to Taft Stadium on Saturday night to play California side Orange County SC. Both clubs will be heading into the match after grabbing wins in their respective U.S. Open Cup matches. The OKC Energy defeated amateur side Moreno Valley FC, 5-1, while Orange County won their game against PDL team FC Golden State Force, 5-2.
Although both sides were victorious during the midweek, the two Western Conference teams remain below the playoff line. Orange County SC sits ninth in the conference, only one spot below the playoff life, and the Energy stands fourteenth, one spot above the bottom.
In the Energy’s most recent USL match, they dropped a point as they blew a 1-1 tie against Phoenix Rising FC. Former Chelsea FC winger Shaun Wright-Phillips scored the game-winning goal in extra time to ensure an OKC loss. After losing last weekend, the Energy’s record is quite grim. The team boasts a 1-4-1 record with a -6 goal differential. On the opposite side, Orange County SC’s last USL game resulted in a 4-0 loss against OKC rival’s Tulsa Roughnecks. That loss comes as Orange County’s second of the season. The California side currently holds a decent 3-2-1 record with a -1 goal differential.
In the 2017 season, Orange County SC has been a highly inconsistent team. In one week, the club will win a match 4-0, while the next week, they would lose 4-0. Orange County has spent the most of their season playing on the road, only playing once at home in league play.
OCSC winger Jerry van Ewijk is the club’s top scorer at the moment with three. The Dutch winger joined the side ahead of the 2017 season from Netherlands first division side Go Ahead Eagles, where he played in 26 matches and scored six goals. The 25-year-old brings quick and controlled play as well as European flair to a strong Orange County side.
The OKC Energy will want to grab all three points while at home this Saturday night. Being at the bottom of the Western Conference barrel was not what fans and players were expecting at the start of the season. Having made some roster moves in the past week, OKC head coach Jimmy Nielsen’s squad should be reshaped in order to achieve a win. New addition Andy Craven will not feature in Saturday’s match due to a suspension he earned before joining OKC in a recent trade for Danni Konig.
Projected starting XI:
Energy FC: Laurendi; R. Dixon, Daly, Hyland, Wallace; Guzman, Rasmussen, Luis Martinez, Craft, M. Gonzalez; Wojcik
Orange County SC: Lyon; Wbias, Sorto, Navarro, Franco; Alvarez, A. Pineda, V. Pineda, Van Ewijk, Villalobos; Fernandes
Location: Taft Stadium; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Time & Date: 7:00 PM CT on May 20
Prediction: OKC draw 2-1 (M. Gonzalez 1x, Craven 1x; Fernandes 1x)