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Matchweek 13 Preview: Cascadia Calling

By Tyler Vaughn, 06/07/18, 8:45AM CDT


Matchweek 13 is the start of a tough stretch for Energy FC. In seven days, the Greens will play three matches: two away, one at home. In the penultimate USL fixture of the week, OKC travels to Cascadia to take on Seattle Sounders FC 2 (2-7-2). While away matches are never easy, this should be a great opportunity for the Greens to pick up their first win on the road.

Currently 15th in the Western Conference, S2 have 8 points on the season – a point ahead of Energy FC. They are currently in their poorest run of form of the season and haven’t won a match since April 14 against Rio Grande Valley FC, 3-2.

In their most recent outing, S2 were thrashed 4-0 by Fresno FC at Chukchansi Park. Fresno dominated in just about every aspect of the game and held Seattle to just one shot on the night. Seattle allowed 16 shots and 9 on target. If there was a time for the scoring floodgates to open for OKC, this might be it.

Despite having four more goals on the season, S2’s offense has created significantly less chances than Energy FC. They are currently second to last in the league in shots, above only Richmond Kickers, while OKC are 22nd. Both Seattle and OKC’s defenses have struggled, with the clubs tied for the fifth-most goals allowed (20) in 2018.

Against Fresno, Seattle Head Coach John Hutchinson lined up in a 4-1-4-1: Bryan Meredith; Denso Ulysse, Blake Malone, Francisco Narbón, Ibrahim Usman (Khai Brisco, 73’); Ray Saari (Antonee Burke-Gilroy, 45’); Nicholas Hinds (Azriel Gonzalez, 45’), Jesse Daley, David Olsen, Shandon Hopeau; David Estrada. Estrada and Felix Chenkham lead the team in goals (4). No S2 player has more than one assist in 2018.

Chenkham was recently called up to the first team, where he made his first appearance in Wednesday night’s loss against Sacramento Republic FC in the U.S. Open Cup. Saari, Hopeau, Hinds and Meredith also started in the match, while Olsen was a second-half substitute.

With a seemingly small squad that only had five players on the bench against Fresno, two matches in five days and three in eight could take its toll. However, one of the benefits of being a 2 team is that you can rely on first team players to help out from time to time.

Energy FC is well aware that Seattle isn’t the easiest team to prepare for, with Matt VanOekel saying, “You never know [who you are going to see in the team]. They could be rotating guys, they could be getting first team guys minutes. You don’t know. It’s going to be a tough match regardless.”

Coach Cooke isn’t taking S2 lightly either saying, “When you play a team like Seattle, they’ve got some very, very gifted players who on any given moment can open teams up, and certainly, they’re full of young players, who I think have got an incredibly bright future.”

For Energy FC, Coach Steve Cooke opted with the 4-1-4-1 formation for the third straight match in week 12. The only change to the starting XI was Jaime Siaj replaced Jon Brown. With three games in a week and plenty of attacking options at his disposal, the gaffer will likely rotate the lineup a bit during this stretch.

Sunday’s match from Cheney Stadium Stadium kicks off at 3:30 p.m. CT, and it will be available to watch on ESPN+.