In this edition of Lady Victory and Her Quest or Glory, I discuss Indy Eleven’s next opponent, Ray OKC, with Porter Cunningham of Scissortail Podcast.
MC: Raúl Martín Presa has owned Rayo Vallecano since 2011 and is the majority owner of Rayo OKC. Currently, the Madrid squad is battling to stay in La Liga. If they are relegated, are there any concerns about Rayo OKC in the short and long term future?
PC: Short term? No. We’ve been told that the $3 million invested by the Spanish club is all “in the bank”, and all parties entered into the agreement knowing that it was really a 3 year startup process. However, should RVdM remain in the second division for more than a season, I certainly think the Rayo OKC management will look to become more and more financially independent to ensure the sustainability of the club. I also think that a prolonged relegation would lead to less flashy signings by the OKC club, because the possibility of jumping to La Liga would not be as present.
MC: Since the team has only been around since November, has the club met your expectations you had for them so far in their first spring season?
PC: Yes! My goals for the team were to grow average attendance (the first two games have been great attendance wise), grow as a team and perform well in the USOC [US Open Cup]. So far it seems the community is growing around the team and the team is growing together, so well on track there.
MC: After Rayo OKC clinched their first win in franchise history this past weekend, what do you expect this will do for them in their remaining games this spring?
PC: I think the focus will be more on gelling and growing as a team than winning games. Obviously the team wants to win, but we have seen and heard many times from Coach Marcina and the front office that it may take the entire spring season before the team really has a good identity.
MC: Can you maybe touch on a few of the controversies surrounding Rayo OKC in terms of where they play, their jersey, and non-Rayo OKC fans in Oklahoma City?
PC: This team seems to be surrounded by what we like to call “manufactured controversies.” Some of these include the fact that they play in Yukon, not Oklahoma City proper (shame on all professional teams that play in suburbs); the fact that they did not expressly proclaim their rainbow kits support the LGBT community (even though they identified real local charities that the shirt supports); and the sale of low point beer at a high school stadium. You can listen to our latest episode for more on the latter.
In terms of non-Rayo fans in OKC, unfortunately (or fortunately?), OKC is becoming ground zero for #SoccerWars, NASL vs. USL and the race to MLS. The abridged version of the two sides of the argument are:
1) OKC can support two professional soccer teams in the long term and competition is good for soccer fans who want a good product on and off the field.
2) OKC is a fledgling soccer fan base and a second team will divide the community and slow or halt the momentum of the existing USL team’s fan base and ambitions of MLS expansion.
MC: What are your predictions for Rayo OKC’s match against the Eleven? Which Rayo OKC players should Indy Eleven be concerned about?
PC: Both teams seem to be gaining momentum, so I think this will be tough to call. Because of my homerism, I’m picking a 2-1 Rayo win.
Indy Eleven should keep an eye on Derek Boateng in the midfield, who will set the pace of play and be a strong CDM [central defensive midfield] presence. Michel on the left wingback slot has shown flashes of brilliance, and NASL stalwart Billy Forbes will surely be looking for goal number 2 in a Rayo jersey on the left wing.
You can listen to Will Bowersox and Porter Cunningham on Scissortail Podcast: http://midfieldpress.com/tag/stpod/