Optimism abound as Energy FC is set for home opener
There was no “offseason” for Energy FC coach Steve Cooke and his staff.
Cooke was a busy man during the offseason, adding more international experience and talent to a club that was slow out of the gate and struggled offensively last season.
There is a different buzz around Energy FC this year after the club finished the preseason 5-1-1 then opening the season last Saturday with a 3-1 road victory over the expansion El Paso Locomotive FC.
Deshorn Brown scored two goals against El Paso, including the first just 12 seconds into the match, the second fastest goal ever in United Soccer League history.
Brown, a former Tampa Bay Rowdie, was signed by Energy FC late in the season last year. He was one of 15 players on this season’s opening day roster who were not with Energy FC last season on opening day. Eleven new players were signed in the offseason.
“People should be excited,” Cooke said. “People should be eager to watch these guys perform.”
Oklahoma City soccer fans will get their first look Saturday at the new, and expected to be improved Energy FC, when the Greens play the Las Vegas Lights in their home opener at Taft Stadium. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
Expectations are high with the new acquisitions after the club finished 12-15-7 last year.
“We believe we have some very good players,” Cooke said. “We believe we have a group of people who are going to allow those good players to play really well week in and week out."
In overhauling the roster during the winter, Cooke said he already had a personal relationship with many of the new signees or knew someone who did.
Not only was Cooke looking for talent during his offseason recruiting, he was looking for the right fit.
“One of the criteria for me was how excited the player was to be here,” Cooke said. “How much did they want to come to Oklahoma City and play for our team. Every single one of them that we have this year, not only was every one of them excited, they couldn’t wait to get started.”
Energy FC goalkeeper Cody Laurendi, who has been with the club since 2016, said the squad is much improved from last season and will be exciting to watch.
“The fans can expect a quality product and a lot of goals and a lot of action,” he said. “I truly believe that won’t be an issue this year.”
ENERGY FC VS. LAS VEGAS LIGHTS FC
When: 7:30 p.m., Saturday
Where: Taft Stadium
Promotions: Mercy is providing commemorative T-shirts to the first 2,000 fans. Kids Eat Free returns for every home match in 2019 so all children ages 12 and younger receive a free hot dog, snack and bottled water. Energy Assist’s 50 / 50 raffle, where the winner splits the pot with a local 501(c)(3) organization, also returns for 2019.