The first road match of the season for SAFC was played on a cold and windy Saturday evening in Colorado Springs - to the tune of 47 degrees at kickoff. SAFC had a couple of loanees make their starting debuts for the team, but it was Colorado's newest loanee who stole the show.
Signed just six days ago, Forward Cesar Romero came to Colorado on loan from F.C. Motagua of Liga Nacional, Honduras' top division. The 20-year-old striker has also spent time playing for the Honduran U20 national team. And in the 85' - just four minutes after entering his debut match - he announced his presence with authority. He hit a perfect strike into the far corner of the net, beating SAFC keeper Matt Cardone for the only goal of the match.
It was a tough ending for Cardone who otherwise had a terrific match for 85 minutes, making key save after key save to keep San Antonio in the match. He had five saves total, but in the end, the night will be remembered for the one he couldn't make. The loss sends San Antonio to their worst start in team history, now with only one point after three matches.
Manager Darren Powell talked about the tough result after the game, saying "I thought we fought well and battled extremely hard, but we were unable to capitalize on the opportunities we had. At the end of the day it's tough when you concede a goal so late, but our players worked hard and we need to get back to work this week to improve."
The starting 11 featured one big surprise for San Antonio. Center Back Amer Didic was relegated to the bench for this one as Eby Ackon moved into a Center Back role and newly re-acquired Loanee from FC Dallas Moises Hernandez played out in the wing as a Left Back. Hernandez started six games for SAFC in 2018 and was brought back this past week. Didic was probably the most touted off season addition for SAFC but the defense has struggled. After conceding three goals in each of their first two matches, there was bound to be some changes on the field.
The other SAFC loanee on the 2019 roster, Bradford Jamieson IV via Los Angeles Galaxy, also got the start, his first in a SAFC uniform. He took the place of Midfielder Billy Forbes who missed the match due to International duty with Turks and Caicos. Jamieson IV was positioned in the Midfield even though he's listed on the roster as a Forward as SAFC started in a 4-1-4-1 formation. Unfortunately his night was short lived as he was injured on an early tackle and was subbed out in just the 18' of the match.
San Antonio passed some early tests in the first ten minutes of the match with the defensive wall doing it's job on a Colorado free kick just outside the SAFC box and minutes later when Matt Cardone got a vital punch on a corner kick to save a goal scoring opportunity on his back post. His first of many terrific moments in the game.
SAFC finally got a decent chance in the 20' when Barmby got free in the Colorado box, but a nice defensive recovery led to his would-be shot being blocked by a defender.
Cardone came up huge again in the 35' when he would make a point blank save on a Rony Argueta shot from close range.
Colorado had their closest chance yet in the 45' as Saeed Robinson took a chance from distance that rattled the woodwork. Cardone appeared to get the slightest of touches on the ball to push it to the crossbar to once again preserve the scoreless first half.
San Antonio came out firing in the second half as SAFC Midfielder Lance Laing executed a good two on one break and got open for a shot, but he hit it wide. Moments later SAFC Defender Kai Green made a huge clearance from behind to deny Colorado's Shane Malcolm square in front of the net.
Overall SAFC had a better second half with more possession and more chances, but in the end nothing that was a major threat to Colorado Keeper Andre Rawls.
Colorado dominated all the offensive statistical categories on the night, so in the end it's hard to say the result was undeserved, cruel as it turned out to be for San Antonio. Colorado lead in Possession (59%-41%), Shots (16-9), and Shots on Target (6-4).
Despite the loss, it was a big improvement on defense for SAFC after surrendering 3 goals in each of their first two matches, but that will be little consolation to a team still looking for their first win of the season.
Defender Josh Yaro spoke about their disappointment after the match, saying "It's been a tough three games and not the results we wanted. We fought it out tonight, the guys' effort can't be faulted. It's unfortunate that we didn't secure the result but we have 31 games left to get it right. Our spirits are high and we will work hard and keep pushing to improve."
Up next for SAFC is their first ever Copa Tejas match as they travel to Austin to face Austin Bold FC on Saturday night.
Switchbacks: 1-0, Cesar Romero (Jordan Burt assist) 86'
Switchbacks: Yellow Card (Jordan Schweitzer) 25'
Switchbacks: Yellow Card (Rony Argueta) 28'
SAFC: Yellow Card (Kai Greene) 71'
Switchbacks: Yellow Card (Shane Malcolm) 90'
IMAGES: SAN ANTONIO FC TWITTER