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.
San Antonio FC (USL) and New York City FC (MLS) announced this afternoon that the two clubs will enter into an affiliation for the 2017 season.
San Antonio FC (8-7-8, 31pts) earned their second straight win at home against the Seattle Sounders FC 2 (7-6-11, 27pts) in front of 6,417 to move into 8th place in the Western Conference. This was the second, and final match-up between the two sides for 2016. San Antonio won both, with S2 failing to score on the Alamo City boys, going 0-4 vs the Texans.
After only earning one point on their last three match road trip, San Antonio has found its form in the confines of Toyota Field, grabbing all six points in two matches. They now sit in the final playoff spot with seven matches left in the regular season.
The first half was controlled mostly by San Antonio, however the attacking form was not creative. There were a handful of chances by San Antonio that were just wide of the S2 net. A free kick by Carlos Alvarez just outside the penalty area soared past the goal to give S2 a scare. A little later in the half, former Futsal star Franck Tayou juggled the ball in the box and volleyed it straight to the keeper. The skills used to control the ball in such a tight space can be attributed to his scoring prowess in Futsal, where the playing field is much smaller than the soccer pitch.
Halftime came with the teams heading to the locker room 0-0. It didn't take long for a weather delay to come into effect due to lightning in the area. Luckily for the fans and teams, there was only one delay and they were able to finish the match without interruption.
The second half saw sprinkles add to the match's atmosphere. The break through came in the 51' when Taylor Morgan sent a beautiful through ball to Rafa Castillo who slotted the ball past the keeper to give the home side the lead.
The last 15 minutes or so were dominated by S2 possession and attack who were looking for the equalizer. It never came. San Antonio goal keeper Matt Cardone was brilliant in goal. He had a few spectacular saves, none better or more crucial than this one.
“We watch Matt every day in training, so training has prepared him for these moments" said Head Coach Darren Powell, "but tonight I thought he played probably his best game in a San Antonio FC shirt.”
San Antonio now hits the road for the next two matches to play St. Louis FC and their final match against Swope Park Rangers. Their next match at Toyota Field is September 4th against Arizona United FC.
Alamo Soccer's Man of the Match: Rafa Castillo (1 goal)
This post will not be long.
Soccer fans in San Antonio want, dare I say deserve, professional soccer. While our history with soccer is relatively short we have proven our support and enthusiasm for the Beautiful Game with the former San Antonio Scorpions and now San Antonio FC.
We all know MLS will be expanding to 24 teams by 2020 with the known inclusions of Atlanta United FC, Minnesota FC, Los Angeles FC, & David Beckham's proposed Miami team. While Miami is still yet to be solidified, commissioner Garber has said "we hope to still get something done in Miami". He also mentioned that "we'll have four more teams [after that]." He's referring to the expansion of MLS to 28 teams, however those four cities have yet to be decided. In his latest listing of cities, San Antonio was included on the list.
San Antonio fans frequently obsess over where our city lands on expansion lists and when other cities make their MLS intentions known. What frustrates fans in the Alamo City is the silence that surrounds Spurs Sports & Entertainment, owners of our current USL club. Straight from the onset, SS&E has made it public knowledge that they intend to reach MLS - there's even a financial penalty through the purchase agreement of Toyota Field if SS&E fail to get a MLS franchise within a given time span.
The Spurs are not a flashy organization but it's safe to say that they are continuing their effort to get a MLS franchise. Recently on the Pitch Black News podcast, Managing Director Tim Holt said they are on a "4-5 year timeline" for MLS expansion. While there isn't as much public pomp & circumstance surrounding San Antonio's MLS efforts, don't be discouraged. Our public support, stadium, and ownership will be enough to get us there.
However, in the unfortunate event that we are passed up for expansion, we are still in a very good situation. We have a top class team to support with a great stadium experience that will continue to grow the sport in our wonderful city.
There will be people who are "MLS or bust" and there are a thousand opinions on whether or not San Antonio needs or deserves another pro-franchise, especially MLS.
None of that matters.
Be a season ticket member, invite your friends & family, wear the crest with pride. Go to as many games, tailgates, and watch parties as you can. I can tell you one thing for sure - you'll have fun doing it!
Support your team!
San Antonio FC & the USL
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