It looked like the Greens would take the lead in the 20th minute when Deshorn Brown played Omar Gordon clean through on goal from the halfway line. Gordon, bearing down on El Paso goalkeeper Logan Ketterer, was unable to pick out either corner and Ketterer was able to make the save to keep it scoreless.
In the 28th minute, former Energy FC player Drew Beckie brought down Christian Ibeagha in the penalty area, and the referee wasted no time in pointing to the spot. Garcia stepped up, like he has done twice already this season, and buried his shot low and to the left. Ketterer was able to get a hand on the shot, but the power carried it off the post and across the line.
Cody Laurendi, like he’s done so often this season, had to come up with a big save to keep OKC ahead in the 34th minute. James Kiffe got in behind the OKC defense down the right side, cut back inside and squared a ball across the box to a wide open Sebastian Contreras. Contreras’s shot was struck with power, but he didn’t pick out either side of the goal, and Laurendi was able to make the kick save away to safety.
Locomotive FC nearly found an equalizer in the 45th minute. Jerome Kiesewetter’s cross from the right wing found Omar Salgado in front of goal, but Laurendi turned away his point-blank attempt. Laurendi then immediately turned his attention to the rebound, and scrambled to beat Nick Ross to the ball. Ross got their first, but Laurendi had already closed down the space enough to make the follow-up save.
Kiesewetter was slipped in behind the OKC backline in the 50th minute and forced Laurendi to come off his line to make another good save. The rebound fell back to Kiesewetter, but his shot struck the post and bounced away.
Deshorn Brown had a good chance to extend the lead on two occasions. In the 54th minute, he faked a left-footed shot from the top of the penalty area, cut inside onto his right foot, but his strike was too close to Ketterer and the keeper was able to hold on and make the save.
Seven minutes later, Jon Brown was taken down in the box and the referee awarded another penalty. This time, Deshorn Brown stepped up, but his shot low and to the right was saved by Ketterer.
El Paso responded almost immediately through a bit of good fortune. Andrew Fox split the defense with a ball over the top, and Luis Herrera was able to control and get off a volley between a couple of defenders that deflected off Mekeil Williams to beat Laurendi in the 62nd minute.
The Greens kept pressing but were unable to find the winning goal. Deshorn Brown came a touch away from doing so when Cordell Cato picked him out with a low cross from the right wing. Unfortunately, the striker didn’t get enough on the attempted flick, and the ball just trickled past the far post.
The Greens will have a little time off before returning to action. Next up is the first, and only, Wednesday night home match for Energy FC, as Reno 1868 FC comes to Taft Stadium. Kickoff for that one is set for 8:00 p.m. Tickets are available by calling 235-KICK or by visiting energyfc.com/july.
This Post-Match Report is presented by Southern Nazarene University. Learn more about SNU’s MASMA program here.
OKC: 1-0, Rafael Garcia, 29’
ELP: 1-1, Mekeil Williams (OG), 62’
OKC: Yellow Card (Jon Brown, 27’)
ELP: Yellow Card (Drew Beckie, 28’)
OKC: Yellow Card (Atiba Harris, 42’)
OKC: Yellow Card (Rafael Garcia, 53’)
OKC: Yellow Card (Christian Ibeagha, 76’)
OKC Starting XI: GK: Cody Laurendi; D: Alvin Jones, Christian Ibeagha, Atiba Harris (c), Mekeil Williams; M: Rafael Garcia, Callum Ross, Cordell Cato (Christian Eissele, 86’); F: Jon Brown, Omar Gordon, Deshorn Brown
Substitutions Not Used: Bryan Byars, Kyle Hyland, Kal Okot, Alexy Bosetti, Mike da Fonte
El Paso Locomotive FC Starting XI: GK: Logan Ketterer; D: Drew Beckie, Chiro Ntoko (c), James Kiffe, Andrew Fox; M: Richie Ryan, Sebastian Contreras (Josue Gomez, 62’, Derek Gebhard, 79’), Louis Herrera, Nick Ross; F: Omar Salgado (Moses Makinde, 91’), Jerome Kiesewetter
Substitutions Not Used: Jermaine Fordah, Guillermo Diaz, Edson Partida
Tag(s): Match Recaps