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Preview: Sporting KC II vs OKC Energy

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SKC II will return to Children’s Mercy Park for the first time in nearly 14 months

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Wilson Harris has been the leading scorer for SKC II
Thad Bell

USL Championship Regular Season- Matchday 2

Sporting Kansas City II vs. OKC Energy FC

Friday, May 7, 7:00 p.m. CST

Where: Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City, KS (closed to public)

How to Watch: ESPN+

Sporting Kansas City II will make their long-awaited return to Children’s Mercy Park on Friday when they host the OKC Energy.

Last playing at CMP on March 8, 2020, SKC II’s remaining schedule of 2020 post-shutdown was all on the road with the exception of one home game at Swope Park. That game, a 3-0 win, came against the same OKC Energy team they will be playing on Friday.

Sporting Kansas City II is coming off a season-opening loss away to FC Tulsa last Saturday.

Under fourth-year manager Paulo Nagamura, SKC II will look to do more offensively after being held to just one shot on target and a shot off the post from Grayson Barber on matchday one.

Friday’s opponent is a familiar foe. This will be the 12th matchup between the two sides since 2016, more than any other active team (STL FC played SKC II 14 times). From their previous 11 meetings, SKC II has seven wins and four draws.

Sporting II has recorded four consecutive shutout wins against the OKC Energy and beaten OKC in seven of their last eight meetings.

OKC Energy FC

The Energy is managed by former SKC goalkeeper coach John Pascarella. In Pascarella’s debut season in 2020, the Energy were among the worst in the USL Championship, going 1-8-7 with a 3-0 loss to SKC II at Swope Park.

OKC opened the season with two home losses, first a 3-1 loss against FC Tulsa before their latest 1-0 loss against Atlanta United 2.

Their only goal from their opening two matches came from defender Conor Donovan from a set piece header against Tulsa.

Former Swope Park Rangers and Kaw Valley FC forward Tucker Stephenson could get a run against his former side. He played all 90 minutes in OKC’s opener before coming on in the 63rd minute in their most recent loss.

Last season forward Jaime Chavez led the Energy with three goals, however, he hasn’t featured in either of the first two games this year. Jonathan Brown followed with two goals, featuring this season in both matches.

Predicted Starting XI

Since both the first team and Sporting II are home this weekend, there is a greater possibility of more loans from the first team.

For this week’s predicted XI, there are five changes from the side that lost last weekend in Tulsa. I have Amadou Dia coming on loan from the first team to replace Christian Duke as they wait for Travian Sousa to get healthy.

I also have Jahon Rad and Bailey Sparks coming into the midfield to give the team a different look. Up top, I have the return of Wilson Harris, who scored a brace the last time he played the Energy, along with Enoch Mushagalusa.

Final Prediction

The USL Championship Week 2 Power Rankings have the Energy as the worst team in the league in 31st place. SKC II isn’t much better sitting in 28th place. The loser of this matchup may very well secure their spot as last place for next week’s power rankings.

For my final prediction, I am going to predict a 2-0 win for SKC II.