It wasn’t the most satisfying outcome. But compared to what’s been happening to his team, Charlotte Eagles coach Mark Steffens wasn’t complaining about a 1-1 draw with the Oklahoma City Energy FC in a USL Pro League soccer game on Saturday night.
“We needed a win, but we’ll take a point for what we’ve been going through lately,” he said. “It’s the best we’ve played in a while.”
The Eagles (3-7-1, 10 points) broke a four-game losing streak with the draw, which they gained on midfielder Wells Thompson’s goal three minutes into the second half.
“We got more scoring opportunities tonight than we’ve been getting, and when you do that, something’s eventually going to go in,” Steffens said. “And we defended and possessed the ball really well.”
Despite having the better of the play for most of the first half, the Eagles went to the break down 1-0 on a goal by Steven Perry of the Energy (3-7-2, 11 points) in the 33rd minute.
Perry ended a flurry in front of the Charlotte goal, collecting a ball that bounced off the crossbar and poking it inside the near post.
Thompson, a former Wake Forest standout, got the equalizer in the 48th minute, his second of the season. He shook off an Energy defender just inside the 18-yard box and blasted a shot past goalkeeper Samir Badr.
In the last minute of the half, Thompson barely missed a potential game winner off a corner kick from Jorge Herrera, when Badr got a couple of fingertips on a header aimed just under the crossbar.
“He has a great feel for getting into the attack,” Steffens said. “We don’t find him often enough. He was just a hair away from getting two other goals.”
The Eagles found more offensive success going wide in the second half, as the Energy, who had played Wilmington to a 2-2 draw on Friday night, appeared to run out of gas.
“In the first half we tried to jam it down the middle too much,” Steffens said. “We knew, of course that they had played yesterday, but in the second half we just tried to do what we usually do.”
NOTES: Charlotte started former Furman University player Alec Kann at goalkeeper Saturday night. He’s on loan from the Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer…The Eagles are at Queens Athletic Complex Friday for an 8 p.m. USLPRO game against the Orange County (Calif.) Blues. That follows a 5:30 p.m. W-League game between the Charlotte Lady Eagles and the Dayton Dutch Lions.
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