Energy FC enters home stretch of season
It's make or break time for Energy FC.
Oklahoma City hosts Austin Bold FC Saturday night in a match that begins a critical stretch of games to finish the regular season. With only nine games remaining, Energy FC is clinging to eighth in the tightly bundled USL Championship Western Conference standings, holding the final playoff spot.
"Everybody that we play from here on out are the teams that are within either one of two wins of us or one or two losses of us," Energy FC goalkeeper Cody Laurendi said. "Every game now is amplified."
Energy FC (8-8-9) either could host a first-round playoff game or miss the playoffs entirely depending on the outcomes of the next nine matches. It begins with Austin Bold FC, a club that defeated Energy FC 2-1 in Texas earlier this year.
Deshorn Brown put Energy FC on top 1-0 in that match before Austin Bold scored two goals in the second half to snatch the victory.
"We definitely owe them one," Laurendi said. "We are coming in at a good moment. Obviously last weekend was a fantastic result for us."
Energy FC rallied defeat the Portland Timbers 4-2 on the road last weekend. It was the first time in club history Oklahoma City has overcome a halftime deficit to claim all three points.
Austin Bold (10-8-6) is currently fourth in the Western Conference standings but only three points ahead of Energy FC. Austin Bold FC is coming off a 5-1 thrashing of Tulsa last weekend.
"We trained well all week and we are looking to keep this momentum going," Laurendi said. "Austin is an interesting team because they have a ton of experience, much like us."
Energy FC will be without Josh Garcia on Saturday after the midfielder from U.S. Grant High School was called up to the Dominican Republic national team for a friendly against the United Arab Emirates on Aug. 30 and two Concacaf Nations League matches against Montserrat on Sept. 7 and El Salvador on Sept. 10.
ENERGY FC VS. AUSTIN BOLD FC
Where: Taft Stadium
When: Saturday, 8 p.m.