OKLAHOMA CITY – OKC Energy FC and Louisville City FC exchanged first-half goals as they played to a 1-1 draw on Sunday evening at Taft Stadium after Zach Ellis-Hayden opened the scoring for the hosts before Paolo DelPiccolo’s fifth goal of the season leveled things up for LouCity.
Both teams tried to make positives starts, but the defenses held sway in the early going and it wasn’t until the 25th minute that Energy FC took the lead on the first shot on goal for either side. Villyan Bijev began the opportunity as he controlled a long pass up the left flank in space and cut into the penalty area for a right-footed shot to the far corner that was partially blocked only for a cutting Ellis-Hayden to arrive at the right moment to tuck home a close-range finish for his first goal for OKC.
Louisville had carried more possession to that point, but the visitors ramped up their pressure after falling behind and created their first good chance three minutes later as Jorge Gonzalez found space in the left side of the penalty for a shot that was parried away by Energy FC’s CJ Cochran. Off an ensuing corner kick, LouCity’s Sean Totsch also had a shot blocked away by OKC’s Hiroki Kurimoto inside the penalty area as the visitors recycled possession well, while on the half-hour mark DelPiccolo sent a finish over the crossbar after a flick by Kyle Greig at the near post sent Gonzalez’s cross on to the midfielder near the top of the six-yard area.
The visitors’ pressure kept Energy FC without an official shot after they took the lead in the first half, and it eventually paid off in the fifth minute of stoppage time when DelPiccolo leveled. After a free kick was half-cleared, LouCity kept possession allowing Niall McCabe to deliver a deep cross from the right to the back post where Greig headed back in front of goal for Louisville’s captain to squeeze home a finish from close range.
The defenses went back to holding the upper hand to start the second half with a header by DelPiccolo that was saved by Cochran the lone chance of the half as the game reached the hour-mark. Louisville threatened properly with 20 minutes to go as Greig seized on a loose pass in the OKC defensive third, but his shot was parried wide of the left post by Cochran, while as the game ticked into stoppage time Energy FC found space for its first shot since its first-half goal as Arun Basuljevic’s effort from 20 yards was saved by LouCity’s Chris Hubbard, but the game ended all square as OKC edged back into fourth in the Central Division standings.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
CJ Cochran, OKC Energy FC – Cochran recorded three saves and one punch, caught three crosses and was solid throughout as the hosts sustained regular pressure but came away with a point.
OKC – Zach Ellis-Hayden 25’
LOU – Paolo DelPiccolo (Kyle Greig) 45+5’