MEMPHIS, Tenn. – OKC Energy FC’s CJ Cochran posted a seven-save shutout to lead his side to its first victory of the 2021 USL Championship season with a 1-0 win against hosts Memphis 901 FC on Saturday night at AutoZone Park.
After a scoreless draw when the sides first met this season, OKC opened brightly and tested new Memphis goalkeeper Brady Scott early as Frank Lopez fired a shot on frame from just inside the penalty area in the fourth minute that Scott saved at the right post. The visitors then grabbed the lead in the 18th minute as Zach Ellis-Hayden delivered a cross from the right to the back post where Villyan Bijev was on hand to head home.
901 FC tried to get back on level terms just before halftime as Francis Atuahene had a low shot to the left corner saved by OKC’s CJ Cochran, but clear-cut chances proved difficult to come by for both sides as the game entered the second half. Memphis got a big chance to level just past the hour-mark, however, as Kadeem Dacres was played into the right side of the penalty area by Michael Salazar after a turnover. Dacres fired a first shot that was saved by Cochran, who couldn’t gather possession but did enough to keep out Dacres’ second attempt to finish.
Salazar then went even closer as Dacres swung in a left-footed cross from the right side that the Belize international met with a diving header only for Cochran to turn the effort onto the crossbar before his defense cleared to safety. The hosts then hit the woodwork again with 15 minutes to go as Salazar’s flicked pass found Kyle Murphy at the top-left corner of the penalty area, and Murphy unleashed a low shot that rattled the near post and rebounded out.
Memphis played the final minutes of the game up a man as OKC’s Robert Coronado was sent off in the 90th minute for his second yellow card of the game after bringing down Dacres. It almost paid off for 901 FC in the sixth minute of stoppage time as Kissiedou fired a shot from 25 yards that Cochran had to tip over the crossbar. That would be the final chance, however, as Energy FC held on for a valuable three points.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
CJ Cochran, OKC Energy FC – Cochran’s seven-save shutout was dotted with some outstanding stops, particularly in the second half as 901 FC turned up the pressure as the visitors came away with victory.
OKC – Villyan Bijev (Zach Ellis-Hayden) 18’