Image: Darren Abate, USL
San Antonio FC and Oklahoma City Energy FC drew 1-1 at Toyota Field on Wednesday night, the sixth stalemate between the clubs in eight matches.
“It’s always a tight game between (SAFC) and OKC,” said SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell. “They’re a very skilled defensive team…very well-organized, very well-disciplined.”
Like SAFC’s match away to Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC four days earlier, Wednesday’s match was delayed because of weather. This time though, there was no hail and the delay was only one hour instead of two.
Powell made a couple of changes from the side which retrieved a 1-1 draw on Saturday, but they weren’t the changes one might expect. Most notably, goalkeeper Matt Cardone got his first USL start since April 2017 when he went down with an injury, though he has since played 300 minutes in SAFC’s 2018 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup campaign.
Defender Gianluca Cuomo also retained his spot in the starting lineup after getting his first ever USL action four days ago, and midfielder Maxi Rodriguez was handed his second start in four USL matches. Usually deployed as a winger, Omar Gordon was also moved forward to play as the focal point of SAFC’s attack in the beginning.
Neither side was able to open the scoring in the second half, though both goalkeepers were called upon to keep their sides from going down. While Energy FC tried to get in close on goal, SAFC wasn’t afraid to take shots from distance with all but one of their eight attempts in the first half coming from outside the box, perhaps hoping to benefit from the slipperiness of the ball after the wet weather a couple hours before.
The second half picked up where the first left off, with end-to-end action – this time though, there were goals to be had and OKC started the scoring in the 68th minute. Alex Dixon played a cross in from the right to midfield partner Jose Barril, who volleyed the ball back across goal and into the top right corner of the net.
Having had the better share of chances, SAFC continued to push for a goal to get back on level terms, and they found it in the 77th minute through substitute forward Alex Bruce. The Englishman didn’t see any teammates to play the ball to but spotted OKC goalkeeper Matt Van Oekel off his line and chipped the ball into the top corner for his third goal in 2018.
“(Even) if I’m going in off the bench, it’s just the same job: score a goal, win the game, get the points,” Bruce said.
SAFC will take a break from USL play this weekend as they welcome Mexican club Santos Laguna, the reigning Liga MX Clausura champions, to Toyota Field on Sunday. The two sides played to a 1-1 draw on July 9, 2017, with Santos winning 4-3 on penalty kicks.