Oklahoma City Energy FC has an affiliation with Major League Soccer club Sporting Kansas City. The partnership allows for Sporting KC to loan Energy FC some of its players to gain experience and earn playing time they aren’t getting with the MLS side.
Last week, Sporting KC, who also is affiliated with Orlando City, recalled Mikey Lopez from Orlando, another USO Pro club, and immediately loaned the midfielder to Oklahoma City. Lopez joined the team in North Carolina for its two matches with Wilmington and Charlotte last Friday and Saturday.
Lopez wasn’t seeing much time with Orlando City, which is set to become an MLS club in 2015. Oklahoma City coach Jimmy Nielsen is excited to have Lopez, as he thinks the move will pay off for the Energy.
“He’s a midfielder who can attack,” Nielsen said. “He can also help us when we sit back with the ball.”
Lopez was drafted by Sporting KC with the 14th pick in the MLS SuperDraft in 2013. He didn’t make any appearances with Sporting KC during the season, but did get on the pitch in the team’s 2-0 win against the Des Moines Menace in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup.
This season, Sporting KC shipped Lopez to Orlando City to get some minutes for their young star. The minutes never came, though. Lopez played nine games with Orlando this season, including two against Oklahoma City, but only totaled 169 minutes. That’s just 18 per game.
Lopez attempted two shots with Orlando, a far cry from the work he did in leading North Carolina to the 2011 NCAA championship while being named ACC Freshman of the Year.
Energy FC captain and fellow midfielder Michael Thomas shares Nielsen’s joy in welcoming Lopez to Oklahoma City. Thomas knows Lopez will bring value and experience to the table and help Oklahoma City, which hasn’t lost in its last three matches.
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