By Sam Agnitsch
In what turned out to be a blustery summer night, Energy FC battled conditions and an undefeated San Antonio FC, to a scoreless draw Saturday night at Taft Stadium. Despite the solid result against one of the league’s best teams, as well as missing cornerstones Cody Laurendi and Wojciech Wojcik, The Energy can’t help but feel a little disappointed after demonstrating themselves to be the more dangerous side over the 90 minutes.
Recently acquired forward Andy Craven started the aggression in the 19th minute, forcing a save from San Antonio keeper Diego Restrepo after making a timely run into the right side of the box. Minutes later, Kyle Hyland’s header was also unable to find the goal after a messy clearance in front of the San Antonio keeper. Having the wind at their back for the first half, The Energy tried to take advantage by pressing and pushing up the line and nearly found glory when a nifty one-on-one move from midfielder Jose Barril found space inside the box on the left side, forcing Restrepo into deflecting Barril’s low, driven cross. The Energy defense wasn’t challenged much in the first half as San Antonio seemed comfortable sitting back with the wind disadvantage but did make some timely clearances when facing the counter attack.
With the wind in their favor in the 2nd half San Antonio was able to find space on the counter and in the 61st minute had a 2 on 1 opportunity dashed out by backup goalie C.J. Cochran, who despite making his 1st start, was solid all night long. Perhaps the Energy’s best opportunity of the game was in the 66th minute when Craven found himself in front of goal once again, thanks to a creative run and clever pass from midfielder Alex Dixon, demanding another Restrepo super save from point blank. San Antonio closed out the game on the offensive, having a goal called back for offsides in the 75th and narrowly missing wide right on a late challenge in the 86th but couldn’t break the superb backline led by Michael Harris. With neither team able to capitalize, the game ended in a draw earning a vital point in the Energy’s quest for the playoffs as they now sit just a point outside the 8th seed.
Man of the Match: Andy Craven
-Valuable point against a top team but there was still a sense of frustration at not finding the net and securing 3 points post game.
-Craven after the game “Felt like we should’ve won”. You could definitely see the newcomers influence in his first game for the Greens. Energy really responded to his aggressiveness/confidence.
-We miss Woj.
-C.J. Cochran looked very steady and unrattled starting in place of Laurendi who is on national team duty for Puerto Rico.
-Back line was tremendous all night finishing with 15 clearances.
-“They had to push, grab, do anything to keep up with us,” Craven said after the game when asked about the physicality. As he was saying this, he had to pause to wipe off rubber pellets embedded into his face.
-Craven also spoke glowingly about his new teammates “Anybody that comes off our bench or starts can do something special”
Next Up: June 16 @ Portland Timbers II