San Antonio FC heads back out on the road this week to take on one of the top USL Western teams during SAFC’s time in the league, Real Monarchs SLC. Despite the Monarchs recent dominance in the standings, it is San Antonio who has had the upper hand in this head to head series. San Antonio has won three-straight in this match-up as they head out West, including two-straight on the road. Expect San Antonio to feel right at home despite being hundreds of miles away.
All that said, Monarchs haven’t lost at home yet this season through three matches and San Antonio hasn’t won on the road thorough two.
San Antonio FC will be looking to extend their current overall win streak – their first of the season – which sits at two wins and counting. It will be interesting to see if San Antonio continues to ride the 3-4-3 formation that worked so well at home to kick-start the streak or if a change is in store as they take to the road. Both Forwards Ever Guzman and Bradford Jamieson IV have scored in consecutive games and the Defense pitched their first clean sheet of the season against one of the best goal scoring teams in LA Galaxy II, so the returns have been favorable in this look so far.
The overall improvement of the defense has been noticeable too, and it’s starting to look like a Darren Powell defensive unit of old. After conceding six goals through the first two matches, San Antonio has only given up three goals in the four games since. It sure seems like a three-man back line can get the job done.
There were several newsworthy roster notes from last week. First and foremost, on Monday SAFC and Defender Amer Didic mutually agreed to part ways. Despite the fact that he hadn’t played since the second match of the year, it was still a surprising move for a player who was expected to be the heart of the Defense this season.
From the Los Dos match, Defender Johnny Fenwick earned his first start for SAFC. Rafa Castillo subbed in at the start of the second half for his first appearance of the season, recording 2 shots and an 85% passing accuracy. Defender Moises Hernandez joined fellow Defender Kai Greene in a Midfield role. Greene had 6 tackles and 12 possessions gained in the match.
Midfielder Brian Gomez continued to play in a Forward position. Gomez nearly scored his first SAFC goal in the first half with his shot just missing over the bar. Fifteen-year-old Academy prospect Leo Torres was on the bench for the first time, a big step closer to taking the field for his professional debut.
And lastly, it was announced by the club that Midfielder Leeroy Maguraushe would miss the rest of the season due to a ruptured Left Achilles Tendon suffered in the Las Vegas match. It’s possible SAFC could look to add a player in his absence, but with 11 Midfielders in place, it doesn’t appear to be an urgent need. However, combined with the loss of Didic in the same week, maybe it is. Maguraushe finishes the year with two starts and three appearances.
Like SAFC, the Monarchs are off to a slow start this year. They currently sit at 2-2-2, just one point ahead of San Antonio. They are coming into this match off their worst performance of the season; a 5-1 thrashing on the road in New Mexico. But the Monarchs can dish it out as well. Earlier this season they handily defeated SAFC’s most recent opponent, LA Galaxy II, by a score of 5-0 at Zions Bank Stadium.
Despite the thumping, Monarchs remain one of the top goal scoring threats in all of USL Championship, currently tied for 9th across the entire league with 10 goals scored. They have conceded eight goals which is one less than the nine that San Antonio has allowed.
Monarchs are led offensively by two Midfielders, Jack Blake and Maikel Chang, each with three goals. Forward Douglas Martinez is their lead assist man with two. Goal Keeper David Ochoa has two clean sheets on the season. Lastly, Midfielder Andrew Brody and Defender Kalen Ryden lead the way defensively with 18 clearances each.
San Antonio can take another giant leap forward this season by earning their first road win of the year. If history is any indication, they’ll have a great shot at doing just that.
The Matchup (W-D-L)
San Antonio FC (2-1-3) at Real Monarchs SLC (2-2-2)
Zions Bank Stadium, Saturday April 20th, 2019
Kickoff 8:00pm Central Time
Current Form (W-D-L)
San Antonio FC - 2019 Road Record 0-0-2
Real Monarchs SLC– 2019 Home Record 2-1-0
All Time History (W-D-L)
Saturday will mark the 6th meeting between these two teams. San Antonio has dominated the series. They are currently on a three-match win streak in the head to head matchup including two wins in a row in Utah. All time San Antonio leads the series 3-1-1.
4/20/19 @ SLC
7/27/19 @ SA
San Antonio faced Real Monarchs at Zions Bank Stadium on September 3, 2018 and came away with a 2-1 victory, clinching a season sweep of Real Monarchs. Ever Guzman and Lance Laing scored for San Antonio. Laing also assisted on the Guzman goal. Konrad Plewa scored for the Monarchs in the loss.
SAFC Wins If :
…. If SAFC can forget their early season road woes and take the positive play from the two recent home matches out to Utah. They played really well during the home stand and shut down one very talented offense in the process – now they need to put it together away from Toyota Field. No better place to cash in than against a team they’ve had a lot of prior success against. Monarchs took a beating last week - SAFC needs to not let them up from the mat.
Defender Joshua Yaro was named to the USL Championship Team of the Week on Tuesday. Yaro recorded a team-high nine clearances in the club’s first clean sheet of the season on Saturday. Yaro currently leads SAFC in clearances (28) and blocks (4).
PHOTOS: DARREN ABATE/ USL CHAMPIONSHIP PHOTOGRAPHER/ INSTAGRAM: @PEAKACTION
IMAGES: SAN ANTONIO FC TWITTER