San Antonio FC did two things on Saturday night that they had never done before; they won a game against LA Galaxy II and won their home opener for the first time in club history. SAFC emphatically opened up their 2017 home season with a complete 3-0 win over the 2015 USL Western Conference champions. The goals came from three incredibly important players for the club.
All-time regular season series: 0-1-1, LA leads
Last match: 2-3 home loss vs LA (2016)
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
All-time regular season series: First match
San Antonio FC (1-1-0, 4pts) returns to the road after a very successful home opener this past weekend. SAFC were able to fight back from an early goal by Swope Park to end the game in a 1-1 draw in front of a record crowd of 8,466 at Toyota Field. This is the first extended road-trip for the Alamo City boys in 2016. They will visit the LA Galaxy II (2-2-0, 8pts) (Los Dos) on Wednesday, the Orange County Blues on Saturday, and the Colorado Switchbacks the following Saturday.
Up first, the reigning Western Conference champions, Los Dos. LA II started out the 2016 season hot with two straight home wins - however, they have had to settle for back-to-back draws since. In their first draw against Real Monarchs, Los Dos dug themselves out of a 0-3 hole with under 10 minutes left to play to tie the game 3-3. Their quick attack and resolve will undoubtedly be something that coach Powell will highlight as his team prepares for the mid-week match.
LA is looking to improve upon their 2015 season, which ended in the USL Championship game where they lost to the Rochester Rhinos late in the match.
Keys to the game:
Possession and aggressiveness. San Antonio's attack is a formidable one when they are attacking the goal and making sharp passes. They proved to be a nuisance to SPR's Jon Kempin as he was forced into six saves to preserve the visitors precious point this past weekend. While the finishing of shots will improve, they will have a better chance of winning if they stay aggressive. There is also room for improvement in the art of crosses - something the team, no doubt, worked on.
San Antonio has already proven they can win on the road. This challenge will be different from S2 because LA is a far better side. The crowd and atmosphere shouldn't be an issue for SA though; in three home matches, LA are averaging a paltry 1,392 spectators. This will be a great chance for the team to prove themselves against another quality opponent - this time on the road. I think the Alamo City boys will surprise a lot of people when they leave the City of Angels with a W.
The game is this Wednesday, April 13th at 9:30pm CST. #LAvSA
How to watch:
San Antonio FC & the USL
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