San Antonio FC will be looking for their first win of the season this Saturday night as they take on Portland Timbers 2. SAFC is coming off a hard-fought draw against Phoenix that many players felt should have been a win. There were plenty of encouraging signs for SAFC in the first match, not the least of which was putting up 3 on the scoreboard. That only happened six times for SAFC all of last season. Granted, one of those three goals was an own-goal by Phoenix, but still, it’s positive all the same. Especially when you look across the league and see that only one team in USL West and only two teams in the entire league scored more than San Antonio’s three in week one. Another great sign was seeing Ever Guzman get off to a hot start with a goal right out of the gate. His first goal in 2018 didn’t come until match seven.
Speaking of the Guzman goal, it was assisted by Midfielder Lance Liang. His seven assists in a SAFC uniform are the most by any SAFC player since the start of the 2018 season. As a reminder, he didn’t begin play with SAFC until late August last year. He has been enormously productive.
Midfielder Jack Barmby, who came to SAFC this season from the Timbers organization, is looking forward to seeing some familiar faces, but knows there’s a job to do. “It will be nice to see some of the boys, I was down there for a few years, so I got to know some of them well. I’m fully focused on getting the three points. It’s about us and our team. It will be nice to see people, but ultimately we really want to get the three points.”
Asked about any extra motivation this week, Barmby got right to the point. He’s focused on winning. “There is always bragging rights I guess. There is always extra motivation playing your former team, but I’m fully focused on just trying to get the three points.”
The obvious area for improvement will be defensively, but it’s way too early to panic about that group. It’s an entirely new defensive line, so some bumps were to be expected. Add to the equation that Phoenix is a team full of tremendous offensive talent and it’s no real surprise that they found success against San Antonio. The first goal in particular was defended pretty well by Kai Greene. Sometimes you have to tip your cap to a player who makes a good play. The other two were more worrying as there looked to be some communication breakdowns as Phoenix players got free in the box. All that said, it has only been one match. Look for the defense to bounce back this week.
Portland Timbers 2 arrives in San Antonio for their only visit of the season off a draw against Tulsa. Portland will be playing their second straight road match to open the year. Portland comes off a 2018 season that saw them finish 6th in the West; a huge turnaround from 2017 when they finished dead last. It was the first time in their history that they qualified for the playoffs. They lost their only playoff game to eventual Western Champion Phoenix by a score of 3-0. This year, they’ll be looking to take the next step, but like most “2” teams, it’s all about helping the senior club be successful first and foremost.
To that end, PT2 was loaded with first teamers against Tulsa including Marvin Loria, Eryk Williamson, Foster Langsdorf, Renzo Zambrano, and Modou Jadama. Jadama scored Portland’s only goal last week, heading in a Williamson corner kick to level the match in the second half, which would ultimately end in a 1-1 draw.
After Saturday, these two teams won’t meet again until nearly seven months from now, on October 11th in Portland. The longest stretch of the season between games with one opponent of the season for SAFC.
How will things look by then? That’s for much later. For now, it’s a log jam in the West standings after one week as 12 teams tied in their opening games, including both these teams. A win on Saturday will go a along way towards beginning to separate from the pack.
The Matchup (W-D-L)
Portland Timbers 2 (0-1-0) at San Antonio FC (0-1-0)
Toyota Field, Saturday March 16th, 2019
Kickoff 7:30pm Central Time
Current Form (W-D-L)
San Antonio FC - 2019 Home Record 0-1-0
Portland Timbers 2 – 2019 Road Record 0-1-0
All Time History (W-D-L)
Saturday will mark the sixth meeting between these two franchises. The two teams split their two 2018 meetings with each team earning a 2-1 victory on their home field. Timbers 2 have never won at Toyota Field. All time San Antonio leads the series 3-1-1.
3/16/19 @ SA
10/11/19 @ PT2
Portland defeated San Antonio 2-1 on August 15, 2018. Omar Gordon opened the scoring for San Antonio in the 28’ but the lead would not last. Portland would get goals from Langdorf before halftime and from their captain Zambrano in the 54’ which would turn out to be the match winner. The match featured seven yellow cards. Current SAFC Midfielder Jack Barmby started the match for Portland. Here are the match highlights:
SAFC Wins If :If San Antonio FC can keep up the offensive firepower we saw on Saturday against Phoenix, expect the defense to be able to contain Timbers 2 on a ground where PT2 has had little success.
Billy Forbes was named to the USL Championship Team of the week.
SAFC “Did You Know?”
Saturday’s match vs Portland marks the 50th regular season USL Championship match at Toyota Field.
IMAGES: SAN ANTONIO FC TWITTER, PORTLAND TIMBERS 2 TWITTER