Photo courtesy of OKC Energy FC
OKLAHOMA CITY – Western Conference-leading Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 and OKC Energy FC played to a 1-1 draw on Saturday at Taft Stadium. Fatawu Safiu put Vancouver up in the 26th minute and Coy Craft notched a clutch equalizer in the closing moments of the first half for Energy FC. While the two sides split with a point apiece, Vancouver maintains its first-place position in the West with an 8-2-5 record and 29 points. WFC2 is 4-1-3 on the road this season. OKC moves to 5-2-5 (20 points) and 2-1-3 at home.
26’ – VAN – Fatawu Safiu (Deybi Flores)
45’+ – OKC – Coy Craft (Michael Thomas)
Three Things That Mattered:
1. In this highly anticipated matchup, it was evident that every second and moment would require focused effort the whole way through. Case in point was Energy FC’s first-half stoppage-time equalizer. Even though three minutes of stoppage time had been announced, OKC was into a fourth minute of stoppage time and made the most out of a throw-in situation. Vancouver could not quite clear the ball and Michael Thomas collected, stumbled a bit but found 42nd-minute sub Coy Craft toward the left of the box and he fired a shot in between goalkeeper Sean Melvin’s legs and into the back of the net to tie the score at 1-1 heading into halftime. It was Craft’s second goal of the season. Craft will be joining the U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team this week for the 2016 NTC Invitational in Carson, Calif., to face Costa Rica, Panama and Japan over the next week.
2. Vancouver opened the scoring in the 26th minute, with Deybi Flores providing a nice through ball to Fatawu Safiu. Safiu constructively worked his way toward the net, eluding OKC goalkeeper Cody Laurendi and then sneaking his shot past a sliding Coady Andrews to take a 1-0 lead. Safiu has three goals on the season, which ranks third on the club.
3. Though WFC2 didn’t pick up the full points, the side continues its remarkable turnaround from its 2015 debut season. In fact, Vancouver could either match or surpass its 2015 points total on the road against Real Monarchs SLC on July 2. Vancouver posted an 8-14-6 record and 30 points during its 28-game slate, and this year’s side is already one point behind matching that total.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:
Coy Craft, OKC Energy FC – Craft scored a big equalizer late in the first half, just a few minutes after entering the match, and created multiple scoring chances for himself and others during the second half.
OKC Energy FC vs. Rio Grande Valley FC – July 2, 8:30 p.m. ET, Taft Stadium
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 at Real Monarchs SLC – July 2, 9 p.m. ET, Rio Tinto Stadium