Following a two-week break in their USL Championship schedule, Sporting Kansas City II (3-7-4, 13 points) will return to the pitch Saturday night by visiting rivals OKC Energy FC (4-5-5, 17 points) for the second time this season. The Central Division showdown at Taft Stadium will kick off at 7:30 p.m. CT and stream live on ESPN Plus.
Led by fourth-year head coach and former Sporting Kansas City midfielder Paulo Nagamura, Sporting KC II secured a momentum-building 1-0 victory at Atlanta United II on July 10 and have used the last fortnight preparing for a busy second half of the 2021 campaign. Enoch Mushagalusa bagged a sensational solo goal to spark the win against atlanta and goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh, on loan from Sporting KC, made two impressive late saves to collect the clean sheet.
OKC Energy FC have played 14 matches this year, but it has already been a tale of two seasons for the Oklahoma outfit. An eight-game winless drought to start the campaign prompted the dismissal of head coach John Pascarella and the appointment of interim boss Leigh Veidman. Energy FC have gone 4-1-1 in their last six games, including a 1-0 home triumph over Sporting KC II on June 23 that saw Villyan Bijev bury the game’s lone goal on the stroke of intermission. OKC are coming off a thrilling 2-1 victory over in-state rivals FC Tulsa, having scored a 96th-minute winner through Hiroki Kurimoto.
With a team-high five goals and an assist on the season, Mushagalusa has been one of SKC II's top performers in 2021. The likes of Sporting KC Academy product Kayden Pierre (12 starts), defender Danny Barbir (12 starts) and rookie Rojay Smith (four goals, one assist) have also played important roles under Nagamura, who has regularly given playing time to rising academy standouts and a slew of players on loan from Sporting's MLS squad.
USL Championship: Match 15
Date: Saturday, July 24
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. CT
Location: Taft Stadium (Oklahoma City, OK)
Live Stream: ESPN Plus
Sporting Kansas City II: 3-7-4, 13 points (8th place in Central Division)
OKC Energy FC: 4-5-5, 17 points (4th place in Central Division)
Match-specific hashtag: #OKCvSKC