Image: Steven Christy, OKC Energy FC
San Antonio FC and Oklahoma City Energy FC played to a scoreless draw on Saturday night at Taft Stadium. The draw was the fifth between the sides in six all-time meetings.
SAFC came into the match off a 2-0 loss to Reno 1868 FC on Aug. 12, just their second of the season and first by multiple goals. SAFC also emerged from that match with defender Ben Newnam suspended for Saturday due to yellow card accumulation and four players on the brink of the same fate, though none of them fell victim.
“We got the shutout and we created some chances to get a goal, but unfortunately, we weren’t able to get it tonight,” said SAFC and former OKC defender Cyprian Hedrick.
As usual, the match was tight, and neither side found a solid chance for awhile. Energy FC’s forwards changed that in the 26th minute as Jose Angulo played a ball through for Alex Dixon to run onto, but SAFC goalkeeper Diego Restrepo stuffed the shot to end the chance.
Ten minutes later, a long ball presented SAFC with their first serious chance. New signing Owayne Gordon latched onto the long ball then chipped it over an OKC defender for midfield partner Billy Forbes. With Energy FC goalkeeper Cody Laurendi rushing forward, Forbes could only fire wide.
In the 45th minute, Gordon found himself with a chance of his own but mistimed his bicycle kick after defender Greg Cochrane crossed the ball in from the left. Defender Shawn Chin found the ball at his feet but his shot led to an easy save for Laurendi, ensuring the sides went into halftime scoreless.
The match had more life in the second half with both sides pushing forward in search of the first goal and the ball often finding its way from one end of the field to the other quickly. OKC in particular pushed late for a winning goal, just missing the final touch or two, but ultimately neither side was able to score.
Frustratingly, SAFC has drawn five of their last seven matches, adding a win and loss in there as well. On a positive note, Gordon proved to be quite an energetic and important player in attack in his debut Saturday, setting up chances, finding some at his feet and just looking to provide the offensive spark which the team has looked more and more in need of.
“The guys worked extremely hard to earn the point and earning a clean sheet on the road is a positive,” said SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell.
SAFC now faces two home matches in the next week against Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 and Portland Timbers 2, respectively, who are currently the bottom two teams in the USL Western Conference table. SAFC previously beat those two teams away in April, but the same could be said of Seattle Sounders FC 2, who then held SAFC to a scoreless draw on May 13.
SAFC Starting XI (5-4-1): Diego Restrepo; Shawn Chin, Cyprian Hedrick, Stephen McCarthy, Sebastien Ibeagha, Greg Cochrane; Owayne Gordon, Michael Reed(c); Pecka (Maxi Rodriguez 73’), Billy Forbes; Cesar Elizondo (Kris Tyrpak 67’)
Substitutes not used: Johnston, O’Ojong, Presley, Araujo, Ajeakwa
SAFC Discipline: N/A