USLSoccer.com Staff Report
Saturday, February 27, 2016
OKLAHOMA CITY – OKC Energy FC will host an MLS opponent at Taft Stadium for the first time as FC Dallas visits for a preseason exhibition on Saturday night. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. CT.
Energy FC is coming off a training stint at IMG Academy where the side took victory in its final two contests against Danish side HB Køge and fellow USL club Orlando City B. Now Jimmy Nielsen’s side takes on the side it not only faced in last year’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, but also struck a partnership with this offseason.
“FC Dallas is obviously one of the best teams in the country, so that’s going to be a fun challenge,” Nielsen said. “We have prepared ourselves as best as possible, but we know we’re up against a very, very good team. It’s going to be fun, and there’s going to be a lot of people here in the stands, so we’re obviously very excited.”
- RELATED: Thomas Ready for What New Season Holds
Dallas reached the Western Conference Final in the 2015 MLS Playoffs before falling to eventual champion the Portland Timbers, and include some of the most exciting players in the league. Colombian international Fabian Castillo was named to the MLS Best XI for the first time last season, as was former standout PDL defender Matt Hedges – an All-League selection in 2010 for Reading United AC.
Oscar Pareja’s side also took a big win in the previous meeting between the club’s in the Open Cup, but Nielsen is looking to compare his side’s performance with the way it competed against New York City FC a couple of weeks ago in preseason.“We played a very good team there, now we’ve had a couple of weeks behind us and I want to see improvement compared to those early games,” Nielsen said. “It’s their last preseason game before the season starts, so I have a feeling they’ll bring their whole army.”