For the entirety of their existence, the former San Antonio Scorpions played in the North American Soccer League which was the official second division in the American soccer landscape. When they folded after the 2015 season, San Antonio FC emerged as the city's next professional team to lead the charge for a potential Major League Soccer franchise, only this time in the third division United Soccer League.
How does this affect San Antonio FC?
San Antonio FC (USL) was eliminated from the U.S. Open Cup by the Houston Dynamo (MLS) 4-0 at BBVA Compass Stadium Wednesday night.
The brand new USL club held its own for the first 45 minutes in its first ever match against an MLS opponent, playing very well against their in-state rival. However, Houston opened up the scoring in the 39' after SAFC defender Milton Palacios slipped at the top of the box, giving room for Houston's Manotas space to slip the ball in past Josh Ford. It looked as though the visitors would go into halftime only down one, but Alex gave the home team a 2-0 lead in first half stoppage time after a deflected cross landed neatly for him.
The second half was a different story. Houston dominated possession as San Antonio couldn't get the ball out of their own half for the majority of the half. Two quick goals in the 60' and the 66' sealed the Cup victory for the MLS side.
Houston will await the Fifth Round draw tomorrow where they will find out their next opponent and what bracket they will be in as the pool of teams left continues to shrink.
This match was a great measuring stick for San Antonio. The organization and city are first class, but there is still work to do on the pitch. San Antonio resumes USL play on Saturday when they host the Colorado Switchbacks at Toyota Field. “Hopefully the guys can learn from tonight, and we’ll get better come the weekend" concluded Head Coach Darren Powell.
All-time regular season series: This is the first meeting between the Dynamo and SAFC
Continuing their inaugural tournament run, San Antonio FC will travel in-state for its third U.S. Open Cup match to face the Houston Dynamo of MLS. SAFC defeated the Des Moines Menace (PDL) in Iowa in the Third Round, 2-1. San Antonio had to come back from a 0-1 deficit to advance in their first win this season after being down a goal. Forward Jacques Francois now has three Open Cup goals & an assist in two matches, including two game-winners. In league play, SAFC are sitting in 13th place in the Western Conference with 11 points in 12 matches, coming off a 1-1 draw against Portland Timbers 2.
Houston will be playing their first match of the 2016 tournament against San Antonio. All 17 U.S. based MLS squads enter in the Fourth Round of the competition. Houston are coming off a 1-1 Texas Derby draw against FC Dallas that was delayed due to heavy rains. The Dynamo currently sit in last place in the Western Conference with 13 points in 14 games. Due to the Copa América break, Houston hasn't played a match since their June 2 Texas Derby draw.
"It's an important competition for us," said Dynamo General Manager Matt Jordan. "As an organization and as a team we're taking the Open Cup very seriously."
Houston made it to the quarter-finals in the 2015 edition of the tournament where they lost 3-1 to the eventual champions, Sporting Kansas City (MLS). The Dynamo have never won the cup, advancing to the semi-finals twice in 2006 and 2009.
Q&A with Dustyn Richardson of Total MLS
Alamo Soccer: With just under half the season played, what is the story of Houston's 2016 season so far? [Note: This question was asked before Houston named Wade Barrett as Interim Head Coach.]
Dustyn: Houston’s season will most likely be defined by the recent coaching change, only the second change in the club’s history. Owen Coyle is out and, well, nobody is in. Wade Barrett and Paul Caffrey, and Paul Rogers are overseeing the team until a new boss is named. There has been no timetable for a replacement so, we will see what happens there.
On the field the team has been bad, no other way to put it. There was a lot of excitement coming into the season with a “new look” Dynamo but the results haven’t panned out. Houston is currently bottom of the Western Conference but are coming off a 1-1 draw at FC Dallas in their last MLS game.
Alamo Soccer: Will we see a strong starting XI or a RGV FC heavy Dynamo side for the Open Cup match?
Dustyn: With MLS being on a break, and a coaching staff basically fighting for their jobs, I think you see close to a first choice XI for the Dynamo. With RGV FC being ineligible, we will probably see a few of their guys as well. A couple of Dynamo players will be out on international duty, most notably the team’s leading goal scorer Giles Barnes, who is with Jamaica at Copa América.
Alamo Soccer: The last competitive San Antonio/Houston match was against the former San Antonio Scorpions in the 2012 Open Cup, a 1-0 San Antonio victory. This being the first match against San Antonio FC, will Houston fans treat this like a rivalry?
Dustyn: Short answer, no. With all due respect, a number of Dynamo fans probably don’t know what San Antonio FC is or even that the Scorpions are no longer in existence. Hopefully, San Antonio joins Major League Soccer soon and then the two teams can begin to forge a rivalry, like Houston has with Dallas. As long as San Antonio is in NASL or USL and plays the Dynamo maybe once a year, I don’t think fans will see them as a rival.
Alamo Soccer: What can San Antonio fans expect at BBVA Compass Stadium for a Fourth Round Open Cup match?
Dustyn: BBVA Compass Stadium is a fantastic soccer stadium. I obviously say that with some bias but it really is a great place to watch soccer. The Open Cup, sadly, won’t draw well. Only the lower level of seating will be open and tickets are general admission. That tells you what to expect crowd wise. If you’re coming to Houston for the game, I recommend stopping at Lucky’s Pub, which is across the street from the stadium. Being downtown is just a very cool vibe for a soccer game.
As for the stadium itself, the field should be in pretty good condition (considering all the rain we’ve gotten over the past month) and there really isn’t a bad place to watch the game from. The Dynamo supporters now sit in the North end of the stadium, underneath the video board. With the second level of seating being closed off for this game, the supporters groups will probably be moved back to their old section in the south end.
Alamo Soccer: Predictions?
Dustyn: If the Dynamo play a close to full strength squad, which I think they will, I think they win 3-1. If they don’t it’s anyone’s guess. The Dynamo have never really taken the Open Cup too seriously but, like I said earlier, with this new staff basically being given a try out, the Dynamo should come out and do well.
I'd like to thank Dustyn for taking the time to answer some questions for me! Dustyn is the Managing Editor of Total MLS. You can follow him on Twitter @TotalMLS & @HouSports.
The match is Wednesday, June 15th at 7:15pm CST in Houston at BBVA Compass Stadium. #HOUvSA
How to watch:
It's been a whirlwind of a week in the Alamo City. The Scorpions ceremoniously dismissed their head coach at the airport and the home of the NASL squad, Toyota Field, was purchased by the City of San Antonio & Bexar County. The Spurs Sports & Entertainment Group, which operates the Spurs (NBA), Stars (WNBA), Rampage (AHL), Austin Spurs (NBA Development League), is going to lease the stadium for 20 years and field a USL team to play at Toyota Field. SS&E are tasked with bringing a MLS team to San Antonio within the next 6 to 13 years, or they will have to pay the county and city $5 million split between the two.
MLS will be meeting in early December to iron out their expansion plans beyond 24 teams. With the backing of the Spurs and a stadium just waiting to be expanded, this transaction puts San Antonio back in the drivers seat for MLS. What has yet to be announced is how this deal affects the current tenants of Toyota Field, the San Antonio Scorpions.
The Scorpions' statement regarding the purchase of the stadium was very vague.
SS&E have said that they plan of fielding a USL team in time for 2016. They have had a franchise license for a USL team since 2010. There are a few options that are possible with respect to the Scorpions.
We continue to wait to see what will happen with the club. What we do know is that Gordon Hartman has accomplished what he set out to do 4 & 1/2 years ago. He has created Morgan's Wonderland - which now has funding moving forward due to the sale of the stadium - and has set San Antonio up for the possibility of getting a MLS team. He put San Antonio on the soccer map, and soccer fans here should thank him for his vision.
We will keep you updated as soon as news breaks.
Soccer On -ASC
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