San Antonio FC welcomed USL Championship newcomers El Paso Locomotive FC to Toyota Field for two Pre Season Matches on Saturday night. The first match consisted of a 45 minute first half and a 30 minute second half. That was followed by a second match of one 45 minute period. Both games were left with the same 0-0 outcome.
Newcomer Michael Lahoud captained the first team that featured some exciting open play from Lance Laing running free on the wing and Billy Forbes. Midfielder Cristian Parano, another new face in 2019 for SAFC, flashed some serious speed in the middle of the pitch. Not to be left out, Midfielder Jack Barmby showcased his free kick skills, putting a terrific chance on net in the opening half.
Despite no goals, Barmby was pleased with the overall performance, saying after the match "Two clean sheets in both of the games, which is a positive and it's a step forward. We just have to be more clinical." He went on to say, "We obviously want to excite the crowd and score goals and that's exactly what we want to do all season but obviously it's going to take a little bit of time."
Things got heated between these two new Texas rivals just before halftime when an El Paso player went to the ground on a tussle for a loose ball. El Paso players took exception to San Antonio players being too close to the injured player, tempers flared, and the next thing you know several players from both teams were pushing and shoving. In the end of the brief skirmish only one yellow card was awarded; to El Paso Forward Omar Salgado. But maybe the heated exchange was the first signal that SAFC can expect El Paso to be on the level with RGV, and surely Austin, in the battle for bragging rights in the new-look Texas landscape in USL Championship.
Manger Darren Powell was not concerned about the incident after the match, saying "We're all competitive and I would have it no other way." On his overall impressions of the games Powell added, "All in all, very pleased with the players. It was a lot of minutes of soccer and all the players worked hard. Now we go back to next week to keep improving."
It was a mostly quiet affair in the second half of game one and throughout the 45 minute mini-game, with neither team finding a finishing touch.
San Antonio FC wraps up their preseason with back to back closed-door matches this coming Friday and Saturday as they make their final preparations before the season opener at Toyota Field on March 9th.
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