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Preview: Sporting KC II @ OKC Energy FC

Can SKC II get out of last place?

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Peter Cuic gong up for a header
Thad Bell

USL Championship Regular Season- Matchday 11

Sporting Kansas City II @ OKC Energy FC

Wednesday, June 23, 7:30 p.m. CST

Where: Taft Stadium, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

How to Watch: ESPN+

The two worst teams in USL Championship’s Central Division will battle it out on Wednesday.

Sporting KC II enter Wednesday in last place on seven points with a 1-5-4 record. Their only win this season came earlier this month with a 4-1 thrashing of FC Tulsa.

Sporting II are coming off a 2-1 defeat against the Indy Eleven. Enoch Mushagalusa notched his third goal of the season, tying him with Tyler Freeman as the team’s leading scorers.

Out injured for SKC II is defender Travian Sousa (hamstring strain) and forward Ropapa Mensah (groin strain). Isaiah LeFlore (hamstring strain) is still listed as questionable.

SKC II will have a couple more options after the club announced the signings of a pair of Academy players. Those signings, forward Daniel Gutierrez and defender Coby Jones, are eligible for this matchup and will keep their NCAA eligibility.

In their previous meeting this season, SKC II salvaged a 1-1 draw with an 84th-minute equalizer from Freeman.

OKC Energy FC

This won’t be the same OKC Energy team that we saw in May. While then head coach John Pascarella (former SKC GK coach) missed that game due to COVID-19 protocol, he won’t have any part in Wednesday’s game after he mutually agreed to part ways with the Energy earlier this month.

After an 0-4-4 record under Pascarella, Leigh Veidman stepped in as the interim head coach and orchestrated the Energy to their first win of the season last week against Memphis 901 FC.

Energy goalkeeper CJ Cochran impressed against Memphis with seven saves and recorded his second shutout against Memphis this season, earning a spot in the USL Championship Week 9 Team of the Week.

Former Liverpool academy player Villyan Bijev leads OKC with three goals and two assists in eight appearances, including the match-winner in the 18th minute against Memphis. Former Cuban youth international Frank Lopez also has a pair of goals this year.

Looking for their first home win this season, OKC enters in seventh place in the division on seven points with a 1-4-4 record. They sit one place above SKC II because they have a -4 goal differential, compared to -7 for SKC II.

Predicted Starting XI

I’ve predicted Gavin Krenecki to return to the starting XI with the debut of the newly signed Jones at left back. Ozzie Cisneros is also predicted to get his first start in the midfield in over a month. I’ve predicted the same front three that started on Sunday.

Final Prediction

SKC II hasn’t been bad, but they haven't been able to get results. That needs to change.

I predict a 2-1 win for SKC II.