By: Sam Agnitsch
It was a game truly fitting of their basketball counterparts. Tough, physical and defensive. A grit and grind affair that provided few opportunities and even fewer shots on goal. Plus, the weather didn’t exactly help either. With kickoff temperature reaching 93 degrees and a consistent 20 MPH wind, both teams struggled in the first half in the attacking third. OKC forward Wojciech Wojcik was the lone attacking bright spot in the first half, pushing a header just over the bar and doing the same on a shot just outside the box. Neither OKC keeper Cody Laurendi or San Antonio keeper Josh Ford had much to deal with as both teams ended the half with 1 shot on goal a piece.
Things were a little more difficult for the Energy in the second half. Facing a stiff wind, now blowing directly in their face, they struggled to find connecting passes from the midfield to the forwards which San Antonio happily took advantage of on the counter attack. The home team pressed forward but Laurendi was able to control his box well, denying a rocket from SAFC player Carlos Alvarez in the 53rd minute, catching it safely into his body. Not long after, OKC Manager Jimmy Nielson elected to make changes up front most notably with recently benched forward Danni Konig replacing Wojcik. In an attempt to provide more sparks going forward, Konig provided the biggest of the game when challenging SAFC keeper Ford in the air in the 69th minute. There was contact on the 50-50 ball immediately followed by a Ford shove/punch to Konig and an all-out, bench clearing scrum in front of the goal. When the dust settled Ford and OKC captain Michael Thomas had both received red cards. After that point SAFC was the more dangerous team attacking but failed to deliver on a late corner with a San Antonio header just being kept out of the goal by Laurendi’s left post sealing the draw.
-It may not be pretty but the Energy certainly have a team identity, relying once again on grit and tough physical defense. Popovich would’ve been proud
-However, having zero goals in the last two matches is a serious problem
-Jimmy Nielson opted for the surprise move bringing Danni Konig off the bench. The Energy are trying everything to end this extended slump, but unfortunately it seems like putting a couple in the net might be the only cure.
-Pretty great to see Cody Laurendi getting his teammates back in that 2nd half dust-up. Not sure how he made it to the opposite goal so fast.
-A couple questionable no calls on PK opportunities for both teams but all in all was a consistently officiated game