OKLAHOMA CITY – OKC Energy FC goalkeeper Cody Laurendi marked his 100th appearance for the club with a shutout and a penalty kick save as the hosts played to a 0-0 draw against Austin Bold FC on Sunday night at Taft Stadium.
With the point, Bold FC moves back into second place in the Group D standings ahead of FC Tulsa on goal differential, but Tulsa has a game in hand as the battle for second place and a place in the postseason comes down to the wire.
Eliminated from playoff contention on Saturday night, Energy FC had an early chance that Jaime Chavez sliced wide of the right post on a tricky volley from the left side of the penalty area. Cordell Cato went closer for the hosts in the 20th minute as after a corner kick he controlled possession just outside the top-left edge of the penalty area and cut centrally for a low shot toward the left corner that was saved by Austin goalkeeper Diego Restrepo.
Restrepo came up with an even bigger save six minutes before halftime as a quickly-taken free kick sent Jose Hernandez moving forward in space, and he picked out Chavez, who beat the offside-trap and got in behind the Bold FC defense. Chavez was unable to find a way past Restrepo, though, as the former Championship Goalkeeper of the Year denied the 1-on-1 opportunity.
Austin almost struck two minutes later as it was awarded a free kick from outside the top-right edge of the penalty area. Ish Jome’s effort went over the wall toward the top-right corner of the net but Energy FC goalkeeper Cody Laurendi got across well to punch the ball over the crossbar.
The visitors were awarded a penalty kick two minutes before halftime, however, as Sonny Guadaramma was pulled down by Chavez after Bold FC had held possession in the attacking third after a corner kick. Guadarrama stepped up to the spot, but his shot to the bottom-left corner was turned wide by Laurendi with a fine one-handed save.
Bold FC again went close in first-half stoppage time as Billy Forbes flicked a header just wide of the left post after a good ball by Guadarrama from the right, while Energy FC’s Rafael Garcia fired a long-range free kick from 35 yards just over the crossbar just before the hour-mark as the game remained in the balance.
Both teams had chances to grab victory in the closing stages. With five minutes remaining, OKC’s Chavez got on the end of a cross by Jonathan Brown from the left only for his header to fly just over the crossbar. Three minutes later, Austin’s Nathaniel Adamolekun stole possession from Laurendi as he looked to clear a ball outside his penalty area, but Adamolekun’s finish toward the net was collected and cleared by Christian Ibeagha to keep the game scoreless.
Bold FC’s Jome forced another save from Laurendi in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time with a long-range effort toward the top-right corner, but after Energy FC held off a late chance to deliver on a free kick for the visitors the final whistle blew and left honors even.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Cody Laurendi, OKC Energy FC – Laurendi recorded a five-save shutout, including a key penalty save late in the first half, as the hosts earned a point against their playoff-chasing rivals.