San Antonio FC (6-6-7, 24pts) led for most of the match at Swope Soccer Village but were unable to hold on as the Swope Park Rangers (8-4-8, 28pts) came from behind to win 2-1. This was the first match of a three game road trip for the Alamo City boys. With captain Josh Ford suspended, and vice-captain Rafael Castillo sidelined due to a lower body injury, midfielder Michael Reed wore the captains armband for SAFC.
The first half was pretty even between the two sides. Both teams used long balls to try and get the ball over the defense, but rarely succeeded. The breakthrough for the visitors came in the 30' when Danny Garcia won the ball off a Rangers turnover and smartly passed to a driving Michael Reed who scored his third goal of the season, giving San Antonio the 1-0 lead. That would be the scoreline as the teams headed to the locker room.
The second half saw plenty of changes from both squads, however more consequential for the visitors. Captain Michael Reed was replaced at halftime, and his presence was sorely missed. With plenty of possession and pressure, Swope Park were able to level the match in the 71' as the USL's all-time leading goal scorer, Dane Kelly, earned a header off an Ayrton Pinheiro cross and, with the help of the crossbar, beat SA back-up goalie Matt Cardone. It would be 13 minutes later that the hosts would take the lead for the first time in the match. GK Cardone had a great save on Rangers' Pasher, but Mark Anthony Gonzalez was able to tap in the ball to give Rangers the 2-1 lead. San Antonio would push at the very end of stoppage time, but it was too little too late.
This is the second consecutive loss for San Antonio in which they had scored first; the first time they lost a match all season after scoring first was last week's loss against Los Dos. This is also the second back-to-back loss for the club - the first was back in April when they lost consecutively to Orange County and Colorado Springs. This win gives Swope Park a little breathing room in the playoff race.
Next up for the Alamo City boys is a tilt with the 2014 USL Champions, Sacramento Republic FC - the only match-up this season between the two sides.
All-time regular season series: 0-1-0. San Antonio & SPR drew in their first ever meeting, 1-1, in front of a record crowd of 8,466 at Toyota Field.
San Antonio FC (6-6-6, 24pts) will face Swope Park Rangers (7-4-8, 25pts) on their first stop during a three match away trip this Saturday. The Alamo City boys just finished up a three match home-stand where they collected four points out of nine, going 1-1-1. San Antonio's six-match unbeaten streak was stopped when the Western Conference co-leaders, LA Galaxy II, squeaked out a 2-3 win at Toyota Field. After falling behind 1-3 before halftime, the Alamo boys didn't gave up. Their second-half push certainly made the visitors nervous, especially when defender Stephen McCarthy pulled the home side within one of escaping with at least a point in hand. It wasn't meant to be though as San Antonio suffered its first loss since June 4 and first home loss since May 21. It was also the first loss for the club after scoring first in a match this season.
Saturday's tilt against Swope Park is a big one for the playoff push this fall. SPR are just one point ahead of San Antonio, however, SA holds a game in hand on the Rangers. The winner of this match will be in a playoff position and can start to separate themselves from the other. The first match between the two sides was a 1-1 draw in San Antonio where a record crowd at Toyota Field opened up the 2016 home schedule. During San Antonio's six-match unbeaten streak, a total of 10 goals were scored for SA while the team gave up five, going 4-2-0. Goals from veteran Rafael Castillo and new comer Franck Tayou have helped San Antonio shake off their early season stumbles.
Q & A with Thad Bell of the SB Nation blog The Blue Testament:
Alamo Soccer: How have SPR improved, or not, since their first meeting against SA back on 4/9?
Thad: SPR has improved, they are starting to find some consistency with three wins, a pair of draws on the road and one loss. In that loss against their nemesis (OKC) SPR outplayed them for 80 minutes and a bad sub or two opened them up. Dos Santos has figured out his players, who they are and where they best fit. The consistency has been challenged a bit by loans coming down and being recalled but the core has remained good.
Alamo Soccer: Has the roster changed much since that first meeting?
Thad: The roster has changed, in fact there will may be only 3 or 4 players starting that started the first match and only 2 will be in the same spot. Duke has moved from left back to the midfield and Meyers may start but he has mostly been replaced by Didic and Ballo (or Ellis on loan).
So probably Kempin and Ualefi will probably be the only two in the same spot and starting.
Van Compernolle was loaned back to OKC, Mulligan's loan recalled, Oliveira injured for the season, Meyer lost the starting center back spot and did show up as an emergency right back last match, Salloi loaned to a team in Hungary.
Dane Kelly has come off of injury and the team added Aryton as well.
Alamo Soccer: What kind of atmosphere should San Antonio expect at Swope Soccer Village?
Thad: There is passionate and dedicated fan base but it is small. With the Rangers being new and a B team in the same city as the first team, it is hard to have a distinct group of Rangers fans. The supporters will be loud and annoying for their size but it will be nothing like the atmosphere at Children's Mercy Park.
Alamo Soccer: SPR are the only team in the West that is currently in a playoff position with a negative goal differential. How worrisome, if at all, is that for the club as the final third of the season begins?
Thad: SPR was good at the beginning of the year but struggled to find consistency and play as a team as the travel and games added up. That led to some very up and down results, close wins/ties and some hard fought but blow out losses leading to the differential looking bad.
After this match they are on the road for three games and then six out of the last seven at home should give them a chance to move up the standing and improved the differential.
Alamo Soccer: Match predictions?
Thad: I hate predictions (so many variables) but I will go with 2-1 for Swope Park.
This match looks to be a toss up as Swope Park's roster is not the same as when they visited San Antonio earlier in the season. San Antonio's scoring prowess has improved, especially with the addition of Tayou and Elizondo up front. San Antonio has done better this year after scoring first, minus the last match vs Los Dos, so getting out to an early start, on the road, will be important - especially as they face a virtually new opponent. Even with the setback against Los Angeles, I think that San Antonio will continue to play well as they have the past month or so. I predict a 2-1 away win for San Antonio.
Things to watch for:
I'd like to thank Thad for updating us on Swope Park's season since San Antonio last saw them! You can reach Thad on Twitter @TheBackpost and read his posts on The Blue Testament.
The game is this Saturday, July 30th at 7:30pm CST. #SPRvSA
How to watch:
In front of the third largest crowd at Toyota Field this season, San Antonio FC (6-6-6, 24 pts) just fell short of extending their six match unbeaten streak. The Alamo City boys mounted a furious comeback in the final minutes, only to ultimately lose 2-3 to the visiting Los Angeles Galaxy II (9-8-2, 35 pts) in the final meeting this season between the two.
The match started out as hot as the temperature outside. The home side went ahead in the 3' after veteran Rafael Castillo whipped in the opening goal in the upper 90 off a free-kick.
Despite the wonderful start to the match, the lead did not last long - only 3 minutes in fact. After an apparent trip by LA outside SA's box, Los Dos regained the ball where Jose Villarreal slid it past San Antonio native GK, Matt Cardone. The next 15 minutes were an exciting bit of back and fourth that produced a few chances for San Antonio. It was a goal off an errant pass by SAFC though that gave the visitors the 2-1 lead in the 20'. Cardone made a great save off LA's McBean's first attempt, but failed to save the second off the rebound. Los Dos continued to put pressure on San Antonio and were able to capitalize off another SAFC error to go ahead 3-1 by the time the half-time whistle blew.
"It became very open, very quickly, which is something we really didn’t want," said Head Coach Darren Powell. "Our defensive line should have done better."
The second half was more of the first half, but the substitution of former Roughneck Taylor Morgan changed the attack for the home squad. Morgan was aggressive on the ball and stretched the Galaxy defense. The final ten minutes saw plenty of possession and aggressiveness by the home side. San Antonio finally broke through in the 84' as Stephen McCarthy gave SAFC a fighting chance with only minutes left. Tonight's match featured two water breaks, one in each half, as temperatures were in the mid-90s with high humidity.
San Antonio now goes on the road for three straight away matches. "“We’re super motivated right now. We need to make playoffs and every game is a must-win" Powell said as the team looks toward the next stretch. They next play at Toyota Field on August 13 as the host Arizona United in the second of a back-to-back with the club from the desert Southwest.
Alamo Soccer's Man of the Match: Taylor Morgan
San Antonio FC & the USL
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