KANSAS CITY, Kan. – A late equalizer by Tyler Freeman earned Sporting Kansas City II a 1-1 draw with OKC Energy FC on Friday night at Children’s Mercy Park as both sides picked up their first points of the 2021 USL Championship season.
The sides exchanged set piece opportunities in the opening 15 minutes, with Energy FC’s Robert Coronado firing a long-range free kick that forced a good save from SKC’s Kendall McIntosh. OKC goalkeeper CJ Cochran went one better in the 14th minute with a brilliant one-handed save that kept a powerful header by Matt Constant off a corner kick from finding the bottom-right corner of the net.
The hosts went close again midway through the half as Freeman fired a free kick from 25 yards toward the right corner that was parried away by Cochran, but the sides went to the halftime break scoreless. The second half produced few early chances, but OKC’s introduction of forward Frank Lopez midway through the half paid immediate dividends as the visitors took the lead. A flicked pass from inside the center circle by Villyan Bijev found the Cuban forward breaking forward in the right channel, and his low shot from inside the penalty area eluded SKC II goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh and found the net.
Sporting tried to answer immediately as Freeman fired a shot from 20 yards that was comfortably claimed by Cochran. With six minutes to go, however, the 18-year-old found an equalizer for the hosts as he capitalized on a good piece of work to create space by Enoch Mushagalusa on the right before delivering a low, near-post cross that Freeman turned home.
OKC almost regained the lead in the closing stages as Bijev made space for a low shot from the left side of the penalty area that was smothered by McIntosh, but a late red card for Lopez saw the visitors end the game down to 10 men as the points were shared.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Tyler Freeman, Sporting Kansas City II – Freeman was rewarded for an active night in the attacking third with his late goal, and finished with four shots on target and two key passes.
OKC – Frank Lopez (Villyan Bijev) 70’
SKC – Tyler Freeman (Enoch Mushagalusa) 84’