SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio FC and Austin Bold FC played to a 0-0 draw on Saturday night at Toyota Field as Bold FC goalkeeper Elliot Panicco kept his side’s chances of reaching the 2021 USL Championship Playoffs mathematically alive as they go to the final game of the season next weekend with a five-save shutout as both teams had chances to strike in the second half.
The visitors had the first good look of the game in just the eighth minute as Sonny Guadarrama fired a shot wide of the left post from the top-left edge of the penalty area, but San Antonio gradually came into the contest and in the 24th minute a pass by Jose Gallegos set up Justin Dhillon for a shot that went just over the crossbar. Nathan Fogaca also dragged a shot wide of the left post for the hosts in the 27th minute, while Marcus Epps headed just wide of the left upright nine minutes before the halftime break as a free kick by Mohammed Abu from the right was flicked on at the near post only for the finish at the back post to go astray.
San Antonio’s sharpest chance of the first half came in stoppage time as Kortne Ford delivered a powerful shot from 30 yards out in the right channel after the ball was half-cleared by a defender, only to see Panicco make a composed save.
The hosts continued to try and apply pressure into the second half, and Gallegos forced a solid save by Panicco just before the hour-mark with a dipping shot from 25 yards that was palmed over the crossbar. While Panicco was holding firm in Austin’s goal, though, the visitors went close to a breakthrough with 17 minutes remaining when Beto Avila almost took advantage of a kind deflection off a San Antonio player to fire a turning shot from the right side of the penalty area to the far post that SAFC goalkeeper Matt Cardone made a fine save on to deny.
Bold FC had another chance 10 minutes later when a corner kick from the right was cleared to the top-left edge of the penalty area where Xavi Baez controlled and then fired back on target, forcing a good stop by Cardone again. San Antonio almost grabbed victory with a minute to go as Santiago Patino fired just over the top-right corner from the right side of the penalty area, but after Ford’s header in second-half stoppage time after a header back across goal by Mitchell Taintor drifted wide of the right post, the Texas rivals were forced to share the points.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Elliot Panicco, Austin Bold FC – Panicco finished the game with a five-save shutout to earn the visitors a point and keep them mathematically alive in the race for the final playoff place in the Mountain Division.