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Energy FC welcomes Portland and the cold weather

Oklahoma City's Kyle Hyland passes the ball in last month's USL game between Energy FC and the Tulsa Roughnecks FC at Taft Stadium. Energy FC hosts the Portland Timbers FC 2 on Saturday night. [PHOTO BY NATE BILLINGS, THE OKLAHOMAN]

Oklahoma City's Kyle Hyland passes the ball in last month's USL game between Energy FC and the Tulsa Roughnecks FC at Taft Stadium. Energy FC hosts the Portland Timbers FC 2 on Saturday night. [PHOTO BY NATE BILLINGS, THE OKLAHOMAN]

Coming from Colorado, new Energy FC head coach Steve Cooke is loving the weather forecast for Saturday night's match at Taft Stadium against Portland Timbers FC 2.

“It just looks absolutely perfect to me,” Cooke said.

After coaching eight seasons for the Colorado Rapids, seeing a forecast where temperatures are expected to dip into the 30s during the match is no big deal.

“As a player, you are going to be absolutely loving that cold temperature,” Cooke said. “The humidity and the heat are probably worse conditions for players.”

Energy FC (1-3) will be trying to break a three-match losing streak when it hosts Portland (1-2-1) in what likely will be the coldest home regular season match in the club's history.

Josh Evans, vice president of communications for Energy FC, did some research and found the squad has played in colder weather on the road, but not in Oklahoma City.

“The coldest high temperature I could find for an Energy FC match was April 1, 2017, on the road against Colorado Springs,” Evans said. “It snowed a good portion of the day before the match.

"They enlisted the help of fans to help clear the seats and field of snow before the match was played. High temperature that day was 36 degrees.”

Energy FC did play a preseason match at home in February where the temperature at kickoff was 19 degrees.

For the sake of comparison, the hottest temperature recorded on the day of an Energy FC match was 99 degrees on August 24, 2014, in Oklahoma City when the team hosted Charlotte, Evans said.

If the weather stays dry Saturday night as expected, Cooke said the cold weather actually can provide a more entertaining match for fans who decide to bundle up and come to Taft Stadium for the 7 p.m. start.

“I think it might make the game more exciting, more fast-paced,” Cooke said. “People won't be worried about dehydration.”

Energy FC forward Miguel Gonzalez said soccer players get used to playing in adverse conditions because matches are rarely canceled unless it is lightening.

As long as it is not cold and raining, Saturday night's frigid forecast won't matter much to the players, he said.

“As a player, you don't really let that (the cold) get to you,” he said. “Some of those snow games are some of the best games I have played in.

“Once you get into the game, you forget about that pretty quick once your body starts warming up. You get acclimated with the weather and you really don't feel it as much.”

He agrees with Cooke that the heat is much worse on players.

“I prefer the cold honestly,” he said. “The heat just takes it out of you. I think it affects you differently, too. With the heat, you feel it a lot more. You feel exhaustion, get tired easier.”

No matter what the temperature will be Saturday night, the Energy FC need a win to snap its losing streak.

Portland will be playing its third match in eight days, having battled to a 0-0 tie at the Tulsa Roughnecks on Wednesday night.

“We are looking to get back on track,” Gonzalez said. “We know we have a good squad and a good team that can get the job done. We need to show it on the field.”

ENERGY FC VS. PORTLAND TIMBERS FC 2

When: Saturday at 7 p.m.

Where: Taft Stadium

TICKETS FOR TEACHERS

Any Oklahoma educator can receive two tickets to Saturday night’s Energy FC game.

The team is offering the tickets as a thank you to educators fighting for better teacher pay and higher education funding during the statewide teacher walkout.

Educators only need to use a valid school email address when ordering tickets at EnergyFC.com.

 

Ed Godfrey

Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more... Read more ›

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