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OKC Energy FC to battle Tulsa for 'The Wrench'

Energy FC goalkeeper Cody Laurendi says the Tulsa match gives his team "that little extra boost." [Paxson Haws/The Oklahoman]
Energy FC goalkeeper Cody Laurendi says the Tulsa match gives his team "that little extra boost." [Paxson Haws/The Oklahoman]

Energy FC and Tulsa will battle in the Black Gold Derby Saturday night at Taft Stadium with the winner getting the Wrench, the award given to the team that captures the season series.

Oklahoma City and the Roughnecks played to a 1-1 draw earlier this year in the first meeting in Tulsa, so a winner on Saturday night will claim the Wrench.

It is the traveling trophy that Energy FC goalkeeper Cody Laurendi proudly displayed in his apartment for most of 2016 after Oklahoma City won the season series.

“It’s very unique,” Laurendi said of the Wrench. “It’s an actual wrench. It’s probably about 50 pounds. It’s massive. It probably came straight from an oil field.”

Actually, it's a pipefitter's wrench but it came straight from a hardware store. The winner of the Black Gold Derby has been awarded the Wrench since 2015, Tulsa’s first year in the league. Members of supporters’ groups from both clubs met several times leading up to the first game between the teams and eventually decided on the trophy and name.

Energy FC’s rivalry with the Roughnecks is the only professional sports rivalry that exists between Oklahoma City and Tulsa. The old Central Hockey League rivalry between the Oklahoma City Blazers and Tulsa Ice Oilers is gone. The Oklahoma City Dodgers and Tulsa Drillers are in different leagues and never play each other.

That leaves most of the smack talk between Oklahoma City and Tulsa left to the soccer fans in the cities. The Tulsa match generally draws the biggest crowd to Taft Stadium each year. A group of Roughneck boosters annually travel by bus to Oklahoma City for the Black Gold Derby and will be sitting at the top of section one on Saturday night.

Make no mistake about it, Energy FC fans do not like the Roughnecks.

"There is no hiding our hatred for the club," said Joe Pugh, a member of The Grid, the supporters' group of Energy FC. "I will gladly have a beer with (Tulsa fans) after the game, but not during."

Pugh said the Tulsa match means more to Energy FC fans than the other regular-season games.

"When the schedule comes out, that is the first thing we look for," he said. "When are we going to Tulsa and when is Tulsa coming here."

Even though there are few Oklahomans on either roster, Laurendi said the players can feel a different vibe when Energy FC and Tulsa meet.

“We feel as players that little extra boost every time Tulsa is on the schedule,” he said. “We not only want to show well for ourselves, but we want the people that have supported us week in and week out to feel that pride in the city and that winning feeling over Tulsa. It's bragging rights, that’s really what it comes to. More for the fans, but for us as well.”

Pugh said it is common for the players to keep the Wrench as Laurendi did in 2016, but when it is not in possession of an Energy FC player, the Wrench will stay at Skinny Slim's in downtown Oklahoma City, the local watering hole for soccer fans.

Until last year, the Wrench had been painted green on one side and orange on the other with a blue stripe in between to represent the colors of both Energy FC and Tulsa. The Wrench was "vandalized" after the Roughnecks won it 2017, so Energy FC supporters repainted it all green when Oklahoma City reclaimed it last year.

Tulsa (4-11-6) is presently on a 13-match winless streak, but Laurendi said the Roughnecks will play with the intensity of a championship game against Energy FC. For Oklahoma City, the match is important in the playoff hunt as Energy FC (7-7-8) is seventh in the Western Conference standings and looking to move up the table.

“Three points in the right direction Saturday night puts us top five in the league,” Laurendi said. “There is a lot more that goes into it than just winning the Wrench. That is just kind of the icing on top if you will.”


Energy FC vs. Tulsa Roughnecks FC

When: 8 p.m. Saturday

Where: Taft Stadium

Streaming: ESPN+

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 ›