AUSTIN, Texas – A penalty kick in second-half stoppage time by Xavi Baez earned Austin Bold FC a 1-1 draw with OKC Energy FC on Sunday night at Bold Stadium as the hosts rallied late after Energy FC had taken the lead through Villyan Bijev in the 83rd minute.
The sides exchanged chances in the opening 20 minutes as first Bijev moved onto a pass down the left by Aidan Daniels and cut centrally into the penalty area for a low shot that was saved by Austin’s Elliot Panicco, and soon after Collin Fernandez had a whipped free kick from the right edge of the box punched away by Energy FC’s CJ Cochran to safety.
Cochran had to come up with another good save eight minutes before halftime as a pass by Juan Pablo Torres sent Omar Gordon behind the OKC back line only for his shot from the left side of the penalty area to be turned away. Energy FC then had a similar chance in first-half stoppage time as Daniels won possession in the Austin half and quickly released Jaime Chavez for a shot from the right side of the box that was turned wide by Panicco.
Clear chances proved hard to come by for both sides for much of the game overall, though, although the hosts created more opportunities during the second half. Nick Hinds carved out a chance for Bold FC with 17 minutes to go as Alassane Ates Diouf played him into the right side of the penalty for a shot that was parried by Cochran before Diouf sent the rebound well over the crossbar on the volley.
With seven minutes to go, though, Energy FC caught out Austin with a sucker punch on the counterattack as Seyi Adekoya sprinted onto ball upfield from outside the edge of the OKC penalty area. The forward slowed as he reached the top-left corner of the penalty area and played a square ball to Bijev on his right, who controlled and fired low into the left corner of the net for his 12th goal of the season.
Austin was tossed a lifeline as the game went into second-half stoppage time, however, as Hinds was brought down just inside the top-right edge of the penalty area to give the hosts a chance to level from the spot. Baez stepped up and drove his shot low into the left corner of the net past the dive of Cochran to pull Bold FC level, earning Austin another valuable point toward its playoff aspirations.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Xavi Baez, Austin Bold FC – Baez kept his cool from the spot with a beautifully taken penalty kick to level for the hosts and completed 49 of 61 passes while making 11 recoveries in a solid midfield performance overall.
OKC – Villyan Bijev (Seyi Adekoya) 83’
ATX – Xavi Baez (Penalty Kick) 90+2’