I am a sad Energy fan.
No, I’m over the whole spat with the front office from last year. I wasn’t even actually affected by that, and in my opinion they are welcome to run their business any way they see fit. This has more to do with the team nearly never winning a game when I’ve been in attendance, and that Jimmy Nielsen doesn’t seem like the most motivating manager you could possibly ask for.
In 2014, I was a season ticket holder for the Energy’s inaugural season. The first three home matches were varying levels of depression-inducing losses in the midst of a six-match skid following a 2-1-0 record to open the season. OKC beat the New York Red Bulls Reserves during the fourth home match, a match I could not attend.
For fear that I might mess with a good thing by showing up to a home match, I didn’t attend another one until the LA Galaxy II game on July 19th. Guess what happened. They lost. The Energy closed out the home slate that year dropping three of four matches and missing the playoffs. I also missed that only win in those last four. But don’t worry, I definitely saw every loss.
Last year, I did not renew season tickets, mainly because I didn’t agree with the, in my opinion, massive surge in pricing following the move to Historic Taft Stadium. I did get to see one game, and mercifully it was a win against the Roughnecks. My first home win! It only took 10 tries!
Tonight, I got to witness yet another draw live. I’m not entirely sure where the Energy got this idea that I thoroughly hate the idea of watching a win live, but it needs to be quashed posthaste.
I think a large part of this can be put squarely on the shoulders of Jimmy. Dude just kind of sucks at opening seasons. His record in the first six weeks of the season, combined over the last three years, is 5-6-6 - OKC only played one home match in their first six matches of 2014. That’s a winning percentage of .471, which is almost acceptable, especially given the fact that 2014 was his first as a manager and the first year for the club. However, at home in that same span he is 2-3-3 (a winning percentage of .438) while he is 3-3-3 (.500) on the road.
Let’s compare that to Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, the Energy’s opponent in the USL Western Conference Semifinals, and a first-year club in 2015. In two years, the Switchbacks have a combined six-week record of 7-5-0. Stephen Trittschuh, in his first two years as the manager and not an assistant, clearly knows how to get the job done. He’s also 3-1-0 at home during that span.
Yes, I get that Jimmy led the team to the Western Conference Finals last year. But he has this nasty habit of getting the team into winless ruts. He has four streaks of four games or more without a win, and two streaks of six straight losses.
How much of last year’s results a byproduct of Danni König's 21 goals in USL play, a production rate that looks increasingly like a fluke? In the 215 games König played before donning the green of OKC, he scored 72 goals (.34/goals per match). Obviously there is something historic about last year, where he was one of two players surpass the previous USL scoring record.
But what reason did Jimmy and the front office have to believe that König's 2015 production rate (.78/goals per match) would persist? The guy had a career year, and I will sing his praises for that for all eternity. However, he scored just his first goal of the 2016 season, last night against San Antonio - his first goal in six matches (.17/goals per match). That’s half his regular production, but much closer to the mean than his .78 goals per match in 2015. And yet, we decided to take that, thinking we were playing with house money, subsequently allowing Kyle Greig to walk. Greig, by the way, has more goals (7) than the entire Energy roster (6). So that was smart.
There’s also the concern about bringing in Cody Laurendi. We had a perfectly good keeper in Evan Newton. Obviously, I don’t know exactly what goes on in these contract talks, but Laurendi was the best we could get to replace Newton?
All this to say, the Energy will probably go on a five-match winning streak just to spite me at this juncture. They take on Mississippi Brilla in the Second Round of the 103rd Annual Lamar Hunt US Open Cup on Wednesday, which should be enough to jumpstart this putrid offensive display all of us in OKC have been used to seeing. That'll ultimately trigger a run of form aided by games against bottom feeders like Tulsa and Real Monarchs, and rematches against San Antonio and Swope Park Rangers (the Energy's only win this season).
This may be an unpopular opinion in the larger Energy community, but I genuinely think last year was an absolute fluke and that Jimmy won’t get it done in OKC. We aren’t even the affiliate of Sporting KC still, thanks to Swope Park, so he doesn’t even bring us a benefit that way anymore. Regardless of whether I'm right or wrong about Jimmy, I just want to see a win more than every tenth game I go to.