SportingKC.com announced today that Kevin Ellis will return to Oklahoma City Energy FC on loan. The move makes Ellis available for Jimmy Nielsen’s OKC squad that’s playing in its final home game of the season tonight. They have three games left in the season and are one point outside the playoff picture, according to the article.
Here’s a view of the standings going into tonight’s game:
What this means going forward:
1) Igor Juliao’s starting spot at right back is more solidified–for the time being.Ellis is really the only defender on the roster that naturally plays right back.
Jacob Peterson has played in the spot, however he’s started 11 games this season playing mostly as a forward. He did play a full 90 at the spot vs Minnesota United FC in an open cup match earlier this season.
Don’t expect any changes at that spot anytime soon, despite some calls from us and others on Twitter:
2) Ellis could be gone for a while.
OKC Energy finishes its season on Saturday, Sept. 6, but that’s if they miss the playoffs. If they manage to recoup the one point gap between them and the playoffs, it could be anytime between 2 weeks and a month until we see him again. The USL Pro’s first week of the playoffs starts/ends Sept. 12-14, with the championship set for “the weekend of Sept. 26-28,” according to the League.
If OKC doesn’t make the playoffs or is knocked out in the first round, we could expect to have him back for the dual CONCACAF matches upcoming on Sept. 18 (Saprissa) and Sept. 23 (Real Esteli). The rules are unclear on playoff loaning rules, but it seems extremely unlikely he could be loaned back and forth during the playoff schedule.
3) This doesn’t mean Kevin Ellis is bad or not good enough for the team. It means Vermes is still set in stone to keep Juliao, and perhaps this is something to boost his confidence. But this comes down to getting a young Kevin Ellis some starting minutes in a playoff atmosphere. You know, the type of atmosphere that has become a yearly fixture in the latter months of each year around Sporting Park. Acclimating Ellis to the type of atmosphere and game intensity that he’ll be experiencing at Sporting Park in a month or two can only be a good thing moving forward.