OKC Energy FC has built a four-game winning streak going into Sunday's playoff rematch with the Swope Park Rangers. | Photo courtesy Steven Christy / OKC Energy FC
OKLAHOMA CITY – For a second consecutive season, OKC Energy FC has been forced to make a big late run to earn its place in the USL Cup Playoffs, but with four consecutive victories under its belt as it heads to face the Swope Park Rangers in a rematch of last season’s Western Conference Final at Children’s Mercy Park (5 p.m. ET | Match Center | ESPN+) there’s plenty of optimism in the club that a place in the postseason is there for the taking.
Here are five numbers that have factored into Energy FC’s outstanding run of recent form.
13 – Energy FC was averaging just a goal per game in its first 23 games of the regular season, but has found the net 13 times over its past four outings, more than one-third of its total output this season as Christian Volesky’s five goals in four games, and three apiece by Alex Dixon and Columbus Crew SC loanee Adam Jahn have catapulted Energy FC into the middle of the pack in terms of scoring in the league as a whole.
17 – Arguably the biggest catalyst for that attacking success has been Spanish midfielder Jose Barril, who’s creativity has seen him record seven assists and record 17 key passes over the four-game winning streak. That number of key passes by Barril alone in the past four games almost holds a mirror up to Energy FC’s scoring uptick, as it accounts for 35.4 percent of the 26-year-old’s 48 key passes for the season.
72.7 – It might seem incongruous for a statistic termed by Opta as a Big Chance, but this season across the USL teams have only converted what have been deemed Big Chances at a rate of 37.95 percent. That’s led by the Portland Timbers 2, who have converted 56.45 of their big chances this season, so the fact that Energy FC has converted eight out of its 11 Big Chances – a rate of 72.7 percent – over the past four games, it’s more impressive than it might seem. With Barril leading the way again here having laid on seven of the opportunities, Energy FC isn’t missing many of the chances it should be taking.
3.25 – Energy FC’s defensive record hasn’t had to be perfect thanks to its scoring output, but the side has shown some signs of improvement even while conceding four goals over the past four games. At the center of these is the number of shots on target OKC is allowing to opponents, which has dropped to 3.25 per game over the past four outings. That’s more than one shot on target fewer than in the opening 23 games of the season when the side conceded 4.57 per game, which means the side’s defensive work is paying off.
245 – It’s not always an indicator of success, but the duels and aerial duels metric certainly appears to be one that coaches like to look at when it comes to winning individual battles. Over the past four games, Energy FC has been doing just that. The side has won 245 duels overall and lost 226, a success rate of 52 percent, with players like Barril (27 of 45) and Dixon (19 of 27) putting in solid success rates on the floor in the battle for territory and possession in midfield. Still sitting below 50 percent in both categories for the season overall, Energy FC’s improvements here are helping in the side’s late-season push.