USL Update: Ellis joins Energy FC ahead of affiliate rivalry match

04/21/2014 10:40 AM

04/21/2014 10:40 AM

During the 2014 season, Sporting Kansas City has affiliation deals in place with two USL Pro teams to loan players out for experience: Orlando City and Oklahoma City Energy FC. Periodically, we'll catch up with how things are going in soccer's third tier.

In need of more consistent games, Sporting KC's homegrown defender Kevin Ellis is heading to Oklahoma City on loan.

Ellis started five games in all competitions to start the year replacing the injured Chance Myers. He scored the goal in the KC's 1-0 win over Cruz Azul in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals matchup. Like most of the defense, Ellis struggled in the team's 5-1 loss to the Mexican club in the second leg.

With Myers healthy and Brazilian Igor Juliao joining the roster, Ellis' minutes had diminished. He wasn't included in SKC's 18-man roster the last two matches.

It's a good move for Ellis, as consistent games with OKC should see his game develop further. In 2013, Ellis was a part of Orlando City's championship season.

He'll be the third Sporting player to join Energy FC on loan, joining midfielder Christian Duke and goalkeeper Jon Kempin on loan already. (The team also features Jimmy Nielsen as coach, three former Sporting players — captain Michael Thomas, Kyle Miller and Cyprian Hedrick — and former SKC Academy player David Leichty.)

Duke has one assist through three games, but did not play in the team's 1-0 loss to FC Dallas Reserves. He picked up an injury early in the April 12th win over Arizona United. Kempin has played well under his former captain Nielsen, posting 10 saves and a shutout through three starts. He missed one game with OKC after being called up by Kansas City to cover an injury to goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum.

Ellis joins Oklahoma City (2-2-0, 4 points) in time for the club's home debut this weekend after a four-game road-trip to begin the season. OKC's first opponent at home will be SKC's other affiliate club, Orlando City.

It's an affiliate derby at Pribil Stadium. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. All USL Pro games are streamed live on YouTube.

Orlando City (2-0-2, 8 points) will face the FC Dallas Reserves on Tuesday night.

Midfielder Mikey Lopez is the only KC player on loan to Orlando. Through four games, Lopez has played just three minutes.

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