“Sometimes you earn a point against a good team, and you’ll take that,” said San Antonio FC head coach Darren Powell after the match. “This was a match that could have gone either way, and they had a game plan that was well constructed and they made it hard for us.”
Things exploded in the 69th minute when SAFC’s Josh Ford was fouled off of a long throw, sending him into a rage. Ford lashed out at his defender, starting a brawl that forced the coaches from both sides to run on to the pitch to separate their players. In the end, two players were sent off: Ford for instigating the confrontation and OKC’s Michael Thomas. Both teams were left with 10 men.
“I’m not sure what happened there,” Powell said, “but you don’t like to see those things on the soccer pitch. That’s not what we’re about and that’s not what they’re about but these things happen in sports. It’s competitive as can be … I thought the referee handled the situation very well.”
San Antonio had its first chance of the match in the fourth minute from a free-kick just outside the box. SAFC midfielder Rafael Castillo took the shot but put too much spin on it, curling just wide of goal.
Oklahoma City played the first 15 minutes of the match well with most of the early shots. But for all of that work, they couldn’t get a shot on target.
Midfielder Sebastian Dalgaard gave Oklahoma City a good chance in the 19th minute. But Ford was quick to rush off his line, sliding in to the ball to gather possession and keep Dalgaard from scoring.
San Antonio fans bayed for a penalty in the 25th minute when Castillo went down in the box. But the challenge was deemed perfect from the Oklahoma City defender who only kicked the ball, allowing Energy to clear.
One minute late San Antonio FC midfielder Michael Reed very nearly gave San Antonio the lead but his shot was too close to the keeper, who made an easy save. That allowed OKC goalkeeper Cody Laurendi to launch a quick counter attack, letting forward Wojciech Wojcik to take a shot – but was was saved by Ford.
San Antonio had another set-up that didn’t work out in the 29th minute when a counter allowed a through ball to be played for San Antonio forward Taylor Morgan. Morgan looked to run on to the ball but it was just too heavy, allowing Laurendi to come out and claim the ball.
SAFC forward Jason Johnson should have had a goal in the 35th minute when SAFC defender Stephen McCarthy sent in a powerful cross to the striker. But the striker couldn’t reach for the ball, letting OKC clear the ball to safety.
Morgan, in his first start for San Antonio FC, nearly gave the hosts the lead in first half stoppage time as he made a good run up the left. Morgan headed the ball on, around his defender and played it across the face, but couldn’t find a teammate keeping it scoreless at the break.
The second half was largely played in midfield, keeping things tight, making it difficult for either side to generate chances. OKC came to San Antonio for a draw, and they left with it.
Top image: San Antonio FC forward Jason Johnson (center) goes up against two OKC Energy FC defenders during the second half the match on Saturday, July 9, 2016, at Toyota Field. The match ended in a 0-0 tie. Photo by Darren Abate for United Soccer League.