In the first game back after the death of Promise Isaac, Austin Bold earned a 1-1 draw against El Paso Locomotive on Thursday night at Southwest University Park in El Paso.
André Lima scored the goal that pulled the Bold level after the hosts took the lead in the second half. The tie kept Austin in seventh, ahead of El Paso in the USL Championship Western Conference standings, and left both teams one point shy of clinching a place in the 10-team playoff field with two matches remaining.
“Not losing here was very important,” Bold coach Marcelo Serrano said. “From the last three games, we (got seven of nine points). We came to win today and had chances, but we got the tie and kept El Paso below us and got one point.”
Sebastián Velásquez converted the penalty kick that put Locomotive FC ahead in the 76th minute, after Jerome Kiesewetter drew a foul on Bold right back Sean McFarlane near the top of the box.
McFarlane made amends by providing the assist on Lima’s goal — a 30-yard cross from the right wing that the Brazilian forward plucked out of the air with his left foot for one-touch finish.
Lima ran to the bench and celebrated by raising Isaac’s No. 11 jersey and pointing to the sky. Isaac died last Wednesday of an apparent heart attack while working out at the apartment complex where the majority of the team lives. He was 31 years old.
Lima had a chance to put Austin ahead in the 59th minute when his header off a corner kick was saved by El Paso goalkeeper Logan Ketterer. Neither team created much during a physical first half.
The Bold has two matches remaining in the regular season, and could earn a playoff spot this weekend if either San Antonio or Las Vegas drop points in their games. Austin plays at 8 p.m. Wednesday against Real Monarchs in Utah, then travels to face the Tacoma Defiance in the season finale on Oct. 19.