San Antonio FC opened their 2019 Pre Season schedule Saturday afternoon in frigid conditions in Frisco, Texas with a 3-1 victory against FC Dallas of MLS.
Matt Cardone got the start in goal, sending the first signal of the season that he will remain the opening day starter despite the team adding Jonathan Viscosi in the off-season. Seven newcomers in all started the match for SAFC including Billy Forbes who returns to San Antonio after one season in Phoenix. Included in the starting 11 on Saturday were four former San Antonio Scorpions. The aforementioned Cardone and Forbes were joined by SAFC newcomer Walter Restrepo and SAFC mainstay Rafa Castillo. A fun twinge of nostalgia for longtime soccer fans in San Antonio.
And it was that old Scorpions and SAFC connection that got things rolling in the opening ten minutes as Castillo delivered a free kick that was headed from the box and just inside the post by Billy Forbes for an early 1-0 SAFC lead. Forbes essentially picking up right where he left off with SAFC in 2017. Scoring goals. Welcome back Billy, indeed.
FC Dallas missed an opportunity to equalize just minutes later as two SAFC defenders sent Aranguiz to the turf, earning a penalty. His PK take went wide of the net and San Antonio escaped the encounter with the lead still in place.
FCD dominated the ball for much of the first half with San Antonio playing the defend and counter game. But San Antonio would add a second goal right before the break, also off a Castillo set piece. Guzman earned the free kick when he was tackled on the near-side wing outside the 18' box. Castillo sent in a free kick, Barmby added a slick touch in the box for the Assist and Central Defender Didic showed he can can use his size at both ends of the pitch, taking the perfect set up and firing in a beautiful shot to double SAFC's lead on the final kick of the first half.
That was the end of the SAFC first team action as San Antonio made changes in all eleven spots to open the Second Half. Including playing three unnamed trialists among the second team group. FC Dallas quickly got back into the game with Ondrasek taking a powerful shot that deflected off of new Defender Fenwick, then off the near post, and into the goal past Keeper Viscosi to cut SAFC's lead to 2-1.
Minutes later FCD nearly equalized, putting the ball in the back of the net only to be whistled for offside.
Despite many new faces on the pitch for both teams, it was more of the same in the second half as FCD continued to dominate possession. While the second group for SAFC struggled to get the ball into the FC Dallas end, FCD had some good chances to equalize but never found the finishing touch.
Then SAFC made their move. Ethan Bryant, fresh off his US Soccer camp in California with the U-18 National Team, made a terrific pass in space to one of the trialists. The unnamed player made a run that started near midfield and ended when he hit a strike with pace to extend SAFC's lead to 3-1 in the final ten minutes of the match and seal the victory for San Antonio.
San Antonio FC continues their Pre Season next Saturday back home at Toyota Field. They'll host Saint Louis FC and the match will be closed to the public.
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