SAFC were in Oklahoma City tonight taking on OKC Energy FC, looking to right the ship after last week’s tough loss to RGVFC at Toyota field. OKC came into the match having drawn 3 of their last 4 games, while our club, still finding its own identity, took back to the road in search of 3 points.
The boys in white were very clearly looking to get on the board early. Rafa Castillo set the tone, as he is wont to do, by drilling one at the goal in the 2nd minute, but unfortunately it sailed just over the crossbar. Two minutes later it was Danny Garcia with a shot in frame, but flew right into the hands of OKC keeper Cody Laurendi. It was an offensive initiative for SAFC, one that served the double purpose of keeping the pressure on OKC’s back line and keeper while also ensuring the home team didn’t get a chance to establish any offense.
SAFC had its first real chance in the 13th when Laurendi misplayed the ball. Striker Manolo Sanchez closed in for what appeared to be a gimme, but couldn’t get there before it was cleared. Five minutes later Sanchez would again cause mayhem inside the box, finding Chin, who drew a small crowd and found a wide open Danny Garcia who sent it past the keeper for the first goal of the night. Couldn’t ask for a much better start for the road team.
The rest of the half saw San Antonio ease off on offense, which appeared to open things up for OKC’s own scoring efforts. In the 23rd Josh Ford managed to deflect a shot that was on target, but OKC was there off the deflection and follow up that, but for the presence of Stephen McCarthy planted firmly on the line, would’ve tied the match. McCarthy was there for the clearance again in the 32nd, which resulted in a free kick for the Energy, but they were unable to do anything with it. The other shoe finally dropped five minutes later when OKC forward Danni Konig got inside of Sam McBride and squeezed the ball just inside the near post and past the diving Ford to tie things up.
SAFC came out of the half determined to retake control of the match by sustaining longer, more patient possessions on offense. Castillo won a free kick in the 47th, and managed to get a shot past the OKC line, but the keeper went low for the save. A minute later a quick strike by Chin forced Laurendi to make a diving save that preserved the draw and served to add to SAFC’s frustration. At this point the match fell into a familiar groove for San Antonio, as the offense receded, resulting in long stretches of play unfolding solely on our side of the pitch.
OKC struggled to find offense, though, even though they’d been granted the chance. The most viable threat came in the 54th when midfielder Sebastian Dalgaard found space and got a ball into fellow midfeilder Coy Craft who quickly closed in on the goal. Never one to wait, Ford jumped into action, meeting the threat and neutralizing it before Craft could make up his mind.
The play of Seba Thuriere was a bright spot for SAFC. He was on time and composed the entire match, winning balls on defense and prolonging possession when the opportunity presented itself. And while there were several players that had their moments, it just never happened consistently or concurrently enough in this half to bring home the win.
The end of the game saw a series of OKC set pieces that Ford and company did well to defend, but neither side looked particularly sharp to close out the match. Nonetheless, it’s back home with a hard won point for our club, who will play host to this very same OKC side Saturday, May 21st at Toyota field.