San Antonio FC wraps up a two-match home stand on Saturday night and for the first time all season, they are coming in to a match off of a victory. Last week’s 2-1 win over Las Vegas improved SAFC’s all time home record following a road loss to 8-1-2 (W-D-L).
The lineup tinkering continued last week as there were several changes from the Austin match and a formation change to a 3-4-3. Matt Cardone returned to goal and saw his clean sheet bid spoiled in the final 12 minutes for the second time in two straight starts; last week by way of a Penalty Kick after a handball on Defender Johnny Fenwick. But most important was securing the win and in that regard, it was job done. Cardone now has 10 saves on the season which ties him for 9th in USL Championship West.
Up top San Antonio went with three Forwards, with both true Forwards Guzman and Jamieson IV starting the match as well as recent Midfielder acquisition Brian Gomez pushing into a Striker position as well. The shift worked out well for San Antonio. They scored their most goals since the opener – a span of three matches – and more importantly, ended their shutout streak at two games. Guzman’s goal was his 18th goal for the club – extending his own team record (19 if you count his Midseason Friendly goal vs Santos Laguna last season). Jamieson IV, who is on loan from Los Angeles Galaxy, should be plenty motivated this week. He opened his account against Vegas by capitalizing on a defensive mistake after he pressed high.
Of course, not everyone will always get to play, but the ongoing absences of Midfielder Lance Laing and Defender Amer Didic from the starting lineup – the latter not even in the 18 last week – continue to be a surprising early season development. Midfielder Leeroy Maguraushe went down with a non-contact injury against Las Vegas and had to be stretchered off the pitch. While no official word has come down about his status, it wouldn’t be surprising if he missed some time, so maybe Laing will have his opening to reemerge into the rotation this week. Midfielder Ethan Bryant continues to miss time with his early season leg injury.
Defensively, kudos must be given to newcomers Joshua Yaro, Eby Ackon and Kai Greene who are obviously doing enough to impress the staff. While no clean sheets have come yet, they’ve been close several times. In what has become one of the early storylines, SAFC has a bad knack for giving up late goals. They have been scored on in the final 12 minutes in every match this season, including twice in added time at home. That is definitely a trend that needs to be snuffed out as soon as possible. Luckily, it didn’t cost them against Las Vegas.
After two straight down seasons, Los Angeles Galaxy 2 looks like they are in for a bounce back season in 2019. LA has won two straight and three of their last four. They are coming to San Antonio off a very impressive 4-2 victory over the West’s top team through the first month, Tulsa Roughnecks. LA has scored at least three goals in each of their three wins so far. Overall, Los Dos also have the third most goals in all of USL Championship, so they are a dangerous attacking team. This will be a real test for the SAFC defense.
They are well balanced, too. They have five different players with 2 goals each and three with 2 assists each, lead by Forward Ethan Zubak and Midfielder Emil Cuello. Zubak and Midfielder Kai Koreniuk each had a brace last week in the Tulsa victory with Zubak getting one of his goals from the penalty spot. For Koreniuk, it was his first goals as a member of Los Dos and he was also named USL Championship Player of the Week for his performance. Here's a cool highlight video of the match from the Galaxy site.
Los Dos have shown they can be a bit streaky too. In their first road match of the season they thumped Tacoma Defiance 3-0. The very next week they went to Real Monarchs and got hammered, losing 5-0. To that end, good as they have been offensively, Los Dos have also given up the most goals in USL Championship. So they're vulnerable. Which version of the team will show up to Toyota Field on Saturday night?
Galaxy 2 have only won once at Toyota Field and that was in SAFC’s inaugural season in 2016. SAFC has won the last two in San Antonio. SAFC will be looking to make it three-straight at home in the series as they also hope to secure back to back wins for the first time in 2019.
The Matchup (W-D-L)
Los Angeles Galaxy 2 (3-0-2) at San Antonio FC (1-1-3)
Toyota Field, Saturday April 13th, 2019
Kickoff 7:30pm Central Time
Current Form (W-D-L)
San Antonio FC - 2019 Home Record 1-1-1
Los Angeles Galaxy 2 – 2019 Road Record 1-0-1
All Time History (W-D-L)
Saturday will mark the seventh all time meeting between these two clubs. San Antonio has done well in the series, only losing once and leading in total points 9-6. Although the one win for LA did come at Toyota Field, in 2016. SAFC are currently on a four-match unbeaten run against LA including a 2-1 win in this fixture last season at Toyota Field. All time San Antonio leads the series 2-3-1.
4/13/19 @ SA
9/20/19 @ LA2
San Antonio FC defeated LA Galaxy 2 by a score of 2-1 at Toyota Field on August 4, 2018. San Antonio had goals from Defender Darnell King and Forward Ever Guzman. The Guzman goal was Assisted by Ethan Bryant. Frank Lopez scored a goal late in added time, but it wasn’t enough as SAFC held on for the victory.
Here are the match highlights:
SAFC Wins If :
SAFC will need to slow one of the best attacks in the league and continue to build off their offensive success from last week regardless of which personnel or formation Manager Powell selects. They need to exploit a defense with the league-worst goals allowed total.
IMAGES: SAN ANTONIO FC TWITTER, LA GALAXY II TWITTER