AUSTIN, Texas – Sonny Guadarrama marked his return to Austin Bold FC’s lineup with an equalizer off a free kick deep in second-half stoppage time as the hosts took a 2-2 draw against El Paso Locomotive FC on Wednesday night at Bold Stadium to run their undefeated streak to four games after Locomotive FC had scored twice to take the lead in the second half.
The Copa Tejas rivals exchanged early chances as in the sixth minute El Paso’s Luis Solignac made a nice turn at the top of the penalty area before firing a shot that was saved by Austin goalkeeper Elliot Panicco before a minute later Stefano Pinho flicked a header just wide of the left post for the hosts off a cross from the right by Kofi Sarkodie. Bold FC created more chances as the half went on, though, and in the 24th minute Pinho headed over from close range after a good cross from the right by Alasanne Ates Diouf.
Locomotive FC threatened again in the 26th minute as Diego Luna drove through midfield toward the top of the penalty area but had his shot parried wide of the right post by Panicco, but just past the half-hour mark Austin took the lead as Diouf created space on the right to deliver a looping cross to the back post where this time Pinho directed his header on target back to the right corner of the net for his first goal in Bold FC colors.
Austin almost doubled its lead five minutes before halftime as a turnover in the El Paso defensive third gave possession to Juan Pablo Torres, who quickly centered for Collin Fernandez for a shot that was blocked to safety by Locomotive FC’s Richie Ryan. The sides then returned to exchanging chances early in the second half as both Luna and Solignac had efforts turned away while Xavier Baez fired a bouncing shot that El Paso goalkeeper Logan Ketterer handled comfortably.
El Paso went close again on the hour-mark as Dylan Mares sent a shot from 12 yards just wide of the left post, but with 20 minutes to go Luna pulled the visitors level with his second goal in as many visits to Austin this season as he played a give-and-go moving from the left across the top of the penalty area with Sebastian Velasquez and curled a low shot into the bottom-right corner of the net.
Both teams went for a winner as the game entered the final 15 minutes, and it appeared Bold FC had regained the lead with 12 minutes to go when Guadarrama headed home only for the offside flag to be raised. Omar Ciss then also had a chance for Austin that was turned wide of the left post by Ketterer, but in the 83rd minute El Paso struck again as Solignac led Josue Aaron Gomez into the penalty area for a lifted finish past Pannico as he came off his line that bounced into the left corner of the net to put the visitors ahead.
Bold FC had a chance to level again in second-half stoppage time as a move down the right brought the ball to Fernandez, who picked out a crossfield pass for Diouf in the left side of the penalty area where the Senegalese winger had his first shot well saved by Ketterer before sending the rebound over the crossbar. Just as it seemed Austin’s chance had gone, though, a late free kick just outside the top-left edge of the penalty area was delivered in by Guadarrama and eluded everyone as it found the right corner of the net to grab a point for the hosts in dramatic fashion.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Diego Luna, El Paso Locomotive FC - The 18-year-old had a strong overall display capped by an excellent second-half goal that saw him record two shots and three key passes while completing 3 of 5 dribbles and 34 of 38 passes and winning 9 of 15 duels.
ATX – Stefano Pinho (Alasanne Ates Diouf) 31’
ELP – Diego Luna (Sebastian Velasquez) 70’
ELP – Jose Aaron Gomez (Luis Solignac) 83’
ATX – Sonny Guadarrama 90+4’