MATCH PREVIEW: San Antonio FC at Austin Bold FC, 3/30/19

San Antonio FC is off to their worst start in team history as they have lost back to back games after a 1-0 defeat to Colorado last week. The good news is that the defense looked much improved. After surrendering 6 goals in their first two matches, they only gave up 1 in Colorado. Keeper Matt Cardone had his best game of the young season making five saves. Unfortunately, the offense did very little in tough conditions. After starting with three goals in the opener, San Antonio has only scored 1 goal in their last two. They will look to right the ship and earn their first win of the season as they take on expansion side Austin Bold FC on the last game of a two-match road trip.

San Antonio FC heads to Austin this week in what could easily be described as one of the most heavily anticipated regular-season matches in SAFC history. There are several reasons why this is the case. Beginning with all the crazy off-field MLS doings that saw Austin get awarded an MLS team without even being formally in the expansion process – a process that was very much being adhered to by Spurs Sports and Entertainment in their pursuit of elevating their club to the next level. The animosity among soccer fans between the two cities is already sky high.

Add to the mix multiple ex-SAFC players who now wear the Austin badge, lead by former USL goalkeeper of the year Diego Restrepo. He notably got into a Twitter spat with a fan after an ugly 4-0 loss to Phoenix last August and then finished 2018 on the injured list for the final two months of the season. Not the best ending in SA for him. We last saw Midfielder Kris Tyrpak in black and silver colors during a road draw at Fresno last April. He was sent off for a straight red card and never played for SAFC again. Finally, Midfielder Sonny Guadarrama didn’t meet expectations for SAFC last season finishing with 2 assists and no goals in 17 appearances. All three players will be waiting for them in Austin. Can you say revenge game?

Sprinkle a little bit of Texas Regional Rivalry on the plate, which was taken up yet another notch by the fans of the four Texas Teams when they created Copa Tejas. That makes this "game one" in that trophy competition for both teams.

And if all of that wasn’t enough, have we mentioned it’s the inaugural home opener for Austin? That’s quite a bit of story line for game four of the season. This could be a powder keg of a match, to be sure. There is a lot more on the line in this one than just a typical regular season match in March.

San Antonio FC even created a special fan-shirt for the occasion as the club anticipates a heavy San Antonio presence at the match. They took a nod from the other major San Antonio vs Austin rivalry – who has the better tacos? Maybe this should be nicknamed the Taco Derby.

 

Of course, this won’t be the first time SAFC has opened a new stadium for a Texas Rival. In 2017 they opened RGV FC’s HEB Park with a 1-0 victory thanks to a Billy Forbes goal. Here’s the full match replay if you want to re-live the moment.

 

Speaking of Billy Forbes, he will look to spark the San Antonio FC offense after missing last week's match while being away on International duty with Turks & Caicos. Forbes scored in the match.

 

Forbes relished his time away, saying “It is always a great experience to play for your country, it’s the biggest honor a player can get. Scoring the goal was a great feeling, and the goal made it 2-1 and we ended up coming back and tying the game so it was the best.”

But Forbes is eager to help San Antonio FC get a win and is still very optimistic about the team as a whole. “It’s the beginning of the season. We are going to get back on track. There is no doubt we are going to start winning games. We just need to get our confidence, and once we start winning everything will fall into place.”

 

Austin comes into this match off a bye week, so they will be well rested and looking to put on a show for their home debut. And without question, you can expect the group of former SAFC players to try and prove a point against their former team.

Austin began their inaugural season three weeks ago in Las Vegas. That match ended in a 0-0 draw and former SAFC keeper Diego Restrepo was named Man of the Match. They followed that up with a 2-1 loss to Reno 1868. Like San Antonio FC, both teams are still searching for win number one, so expect two teams playing with some extra vigor on Saturday night.

It’s hard to say who has the edge in this one. San Antonio FC is the veteran organization with a chip on their shoulder and they will feel like they are underachieving through three games. Austin is unproven but rested and they have players who will want to prove a point. And no one knows what to expect from playing a match at Bold Stadium. This will be an interesting one to watch unfold for sure. Get your popcorn ready.

The Matchup (W-D-L)

San Antonio FC (0-1-2) at Austin Bold FC (0-1-1)

Bold Stadium, Saturday March 30th, 2019

Kickoff 7:30pm Central Time

Table Position

Current Form (W-D-L)

San Antonio FC - 2019 Road Record 0-0-1

D-L-L

Austin Bold FC– 2019 Home Record 0-0-0

D-L

All Time History (W-D-L)

Saturday will mark the first ever meeting between these two teams.

Season Series

3/30/19 @ ATX

7/3/19 @ SA

Last Time

This will be the first time these two teams have ever met. With no past head to head highlights to showcase, check out their match highlights from two weeks ago against Reno 1868. Reno won the match 2-1. Forward Kleber Giacomazzi scored the first ever goal for Austin Bold FC in the match.

 

SAFC Wins If :

San Antonio FC needs to put it all together. The need a repeat of the strong defense from last week but they need their attack to show up. They also need to close out games. They’ve now given up two goals in the final 10 minutes of a match. Not a good early trend and a not a winning formula.

IMAGES:SAN ANTONIO FC TWITTER

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