Affiliates in Action: Consecutive defeats drop OKC out of playoff position

Sporting KC has partnered with USL PRO clubs Orlando City SC and OKC Energy FC for the 2014 season. As part of the agreement, Sporting KC will loan players to the clubs to play games and gain experience throughout the year. Each week, we’ll recap the performances of the Sporting KC players on loan.

Defeats to Arizona United on Friday and the Charleston Battery on Sunday left OKC Energy FC one point out of the USL PRO playoff picture with two games left in the regular season. Midfielders Christian Duke and Jimmy Medranda were involved in both matches, while defender Kevin Ellis joined the duo on Sunday for Energy FC's final home game at a sold-out Pribil Stadium.

Jimmy Nielsen's side fell 1-0 at eighth place Arizona United on Friday as Scott Morrison struck a 76th-minute winner for the hosts. Medranda started and played 61 minutes, registering one shot on goal. The 20-year-old Colombian thought he had put OKC just before halftime, but his shot from the left side of the box was negated as he was flagged offsides.

Fully recovered from a stress fracture, Duke made his first USL PRO appearance since June as a halftime substitute and contributed to Energy FC's late wave of pressure. Yet it was Arizona United who won a penalty kick in the 90th minute after OKC defender Tarek Morad was ejected for a reckless tackle inside the box. Samir Badr saved the attempt with a diving stop to his right to keep nine-man Energy FC within one goal.

Less than 48 hours later, Duke and freshly recalled Ellis were in the starting XI for OKC's home finale at Pribil Stadium. The home side, playing in front of a season-high 4,722 spectators, kept second place Charleston off the scoreboard until the 79th minute when Amadou Sanyang headed a Jose Cuevas corner kick past Badir. Heviel Cordoves doubled Charleston's cushion in the final minute of normal time, condemning OKC to their fifth consecutive loss. Ellis played the full match, Duke exited after 81 minutes and Medranda subbed on in the 73rd minute.

The first-year USL PRO side has next weekend off before two pivotal road contests at Sacramento Republic FC (Sept. 4) and Orange County Blues FC (Sept. 6) to conclude the regular season. Energy FC (8-13-5, 29 points) is currently 12th in the league standings, but a mere three points separate seventh place from 12th in the table.

League leaders Orlando City SC, meanwhile, earned a 3-2 road win over the second place Richmond Kickers to open a six-point margin atop USL PRO. The defending champions need six points in their final four games to clinch a No. 1 seed in the league playoffs.

Christian Duke (OKC Energy FC)

2014 USL PRO Stats

Games Played Minutes Played Goals Assists Shots Fouls
11 734 0 3 7 9

Kevin Ellis (OKC Energy FC)

2014 USL PRO Stats

Games Played Minutes Played Goals Assists Shots Fouls
5 446 0 0 1 5

Jimmy Medranda (OKC Energy FC)

2014 USL PRO Stats

Games Played Minutes Played Goals Assists Shots Fouls
9 412 0 0 9 10