Second verse, same as the first. For the second week in a row SAFC will face RGV-FC this weekend. Such is life in the newly condensed version of USL Championship; less opponents to play and multiple games against the same teams. Last weekend it didn’t even appear that SAFC would have a match at all after the game, originally set for Friday, was postponed once an RGV-FC player tested positive for Covid-19. That turned out to be short lived as they were able to reschedule it for last Sunday night.
Maybe it would have been better if the game had stayed postponed. SAFC jumped on RGV in the third minute thanks to a goal from Cristian Parano. The scoreline stayed unchanged until 4 minutes into added time when Taiberson delivered a sensational equalizer, sending two SAFC points that were just about in the bag, adrift.
The draw extended SAFC’s winless streak vs RGV-FC to 4 games, but SAFC ended the weekend level on points at the top of their group with a game in hand on OKC Energy. After RGV and OKC played to a midweek 1-1 draw on Wednesday night, SAFC trails OKC by a single point, but now with two games in hand, so they are in a solid position heading into the weekend.
In addition to seeing familiar faces back on the field such as Yaro and Greene on Defense and the return of Zachary Herivaux to San Antonio, a couple players made their SAFC debuts on Sunday. None more prominent than GK Dayne St Clair on loan from Minnesota United in MLS, who replaced long-time incumbent Matt Cardone in the net. St Clair was credited with one save on Sunday night. Whether that change remains permanent or if a time-share is in the cards remains to be seen.
Another newcomer catching early headlines is Forward Luis Solignac who has now delivered an Assist in each of his two starts for SAFC.
Manager Alen Marcina shared his thoughts after the match, saying “There were a lot of good things that we did tonight. RGV is a good team, a young team – hungry and dynamic. They kept battling hats off to them. They battled for 96 minutes and scored a beautiful goal at the end. We will learn from things we did well and areas we need to improve on.”
The venue will shift to Toyota Field for this weekend’s contest. However just like last week at HEB Park, there will not be fans allowed for the match. Here was the statement that SAFC released when they made the announcement.
The two day postponement last weekend definitely did RGV-FC no favors. Instead of playing 3 matches in 9 days, they will now be wrapping up their third match in only 7 days when they visit San Antonio on Saturday; two straight games on the road. It’s a tough deal for them, but they’ll get no sympathy from SAFC who will face their own run of busy weeks next month.
As expected on a tight schedule, RGV made 5 changes from Sunday to Wednesday. It’s a safe bet more changes will be coming for Saturday night’s match-up.
Offensively RGV still hasn’t generated much thus far. RGV has yet to score more than 1 goal in any single game (to be fair, neither has SAFC) but they have three different goal scorers on the season now. Deshane Beckford is the latest player to tally for RGV and it was a high-class goal. Here’s a look at it:
Defensively things have looked better for RGV-FC since the restart. Paul Blanchette continues with the nod in goal, putting up 15 saves but also allowing the 8 goals. Throw out the opening game from March and he’s only allowed 1 goal per game since the restart. Robert Castellanos is far and away the main cog in their defense leading the team with 41 clearances. A stellar 27 more than any other RGV Defender.
SAFC’s Connor Maloney talked about RGV-FC as they prepare to face them for the second time in less than a week. "We see their strengths and weaknesses. They are a good team – young and talented. We must be smart when we are defending. We need to study their strengths and weaknesses and try to exploit whatever we can offensively.”
SAFC let one opportunity to pin RGV-FC into the bottom of Group D slip away. Things would feel a lot better around Toyota Field if they didn’t let it happen twice.
The Matchup (W-D-L)
RGV-FC (0-2-2, 2 points)
at San Antonio FC (1-1-0, 4 points)
Toyota Field, Saturday July 25th, 2020
Kickoff 8:00pm Central Time
Current Form (W-D-L)
San Antonio FC - 2020 Home Record (1-0-0)
RGV FC – 2020 Road Record (0-1-1)
All Time History (W-D-L)
Saturday will mark the 14th all-time meeting between the two clubs. RGV FC is the most common league opponent for SAFC in their history. After RGV FC won 4 of the first 6 matches between these two clubs, San Antonio has improved in the match-up, but RGV maintains the edge in this series. All time SAFC is (3-5-5) against their Texas rivals with RGV leading the series 20 points to 14.
7/19/20 @ RGV 1-1
7/25/20 @ SA
8/29/20 @ RGV
9/5/20 @ SA
In case you have a real short memory, Parano scored in the third minute for SAFC and Taiberson equalized late for RGV-FC as both teams shared a point.
Here’s a look back at Parano’s goal from last weekend:
SAFC Wins If :
…if San Antonio FC can finish the job. They controlled the match for large portions of the game last weekend in the Valley. Whether it was tired legs from a long layoff or a loss of focus at the end, SAFC couldn’t close out RGV as they were peppered with shots in the game’s final minutes. If they can regroup against a team that has had a long week, they should prevail.
IMAGES: SAFC TWITTER, RGV-FC TWITTER
PHOTOS: DARREN ABATE, INSTAGRAM: @PEAKACTION