It was a tale of two halfs at Zions Bank Stadium as San Antonio FC went into halftime with a 2-0 lead but left the match on the wrong end of the scoreboard losing 3-2 to Real Monarchs. It was the first win for Real Monarchs over SAFC at their home stadium in the last three matches, and the loss ended San Antonio's two match wining streak overall. San Antonio has lost all three of their road matches so far in 2019.
San Antonio wasted little time getting going in this one as Forward Brian Gomez picked Defender Kalen Ryden's pocket as he very indecisively dribbled the ball near his back line. Gomez went at him aggressively and knocked the ball away from Ryden. It rolled into an open area inside the Monarchs box, and Gomez was able to run it down and take an open shot, burying a goal past Monarchs keeper Evan Finney for an early 1-0 San Antonio lead in the 6'.
Gomez would follow that up in the 17' when he received a great pass from Forward Walter Restrepo. Gomez easily dribbled around Goal Keeper Evan Finney who had come way off his line to try and make a play. He didn't get there in time. Once Gomez made the move past Finney it was a wide open net and an easy tap in goal for the brace and a 2-0 San Antonio lead.
It was the first SAFC brace since Ever Guzman last October. Restrepo is a former San Antonio Scorpions player and he was making his first start for San Antonio FC in this match.
In the 33' Monarchs had their first great chance of the match when Midfielder Josh Heard got behind the SAFC defense. San Antonio Keeper Matt Cardone stone walled his initial shot and then made a second save at point blank range when Heard got his own rebound and tried a second shot. It was a terrific all around play from Cardone to hold the shut out.
Cardone would deny Heard again in the 44' when a ball was headed down to a wide open Heard deep in SAFC's box, but Cardone got a hand on his shot and deflected it harmlessly away. It was another huge save for Cardone to keep San Antonio's 2-0 lead intact at Halftime. Cardone would finish the night with six saves - a season high.
Real Monarchs dominated the stat sheet in the first half. They out-shot SA 14-2, had 6 corners to San Antonio's zero, and held 63% possession, but they still trailed 2-0 at the break. San Antonio's lead wouldn't last long, however.
Monarchs got their first break in the opening minutes of the second half as SAFC Defender Moises Hernandez was called for questionable penalty on a Monarchs Corner Kick. He received a yellow card for the tackle. Midfielder Maikel Chang would take the penalty kick for Monarchs and just like that it was 2-1 in the 48'.
Ten minutes later, it was San Antonio Defender Eby Ackon who committed a foul from behind in the San Antonio box for a second penalty, taking down Forward Kyle Coffee. Midfielder Jack Blake would take the PK for Monarchs this time and he scored it, evening the game at 2-2 in the 56'. And just like that, San Antonio's lead had vanished. It would get worse.
San Antonio FC Manager Darren Powell was thrown out of the game by the referee while arguing after the Penalty call.
Later, Kyle Coffee would add to the proceedings with his first professional goal in the 71'. It was a quality header to bring Real Monarchs all the way back and into the lead at 3-2. His goal would hold up as the match winner.
Said San Antonio FC Manager Darren Powell after the match, “In the first half we had a better performance and in the second half we got ourselves on the back foot and couldn’t recover from that. We are disappointed by the result and as a group we know we can perform better.”
There were a couple of surprise SAFC names on the injury list for the match, none bigger than Forward Ever Guzman who had scored in consecutive games before needing to sit this one out. It is unclear when he picked up the injury - described as an "upper body" injury - or how long he will be out. Joining him was Defender Johnny Fenwick who picked up a lower body injury after making his first ever start last week against Los Angeles Galaxy II. As a result, San Antonio FC was forced to play a 17 man lineup out of sheer necessity with 5 total players on the Injury Report.
Despite no Guzman and despite the loss, SAFC scored their first two goals on the road this season.
San Antonio FC returns home on Friday night to take on Tacoma Defiance, formerly known as Seattle Sounders II.
SAFC: 1-0, Brian Gomez 6’
SAFC: 2-0, Brian Gomez (Walter Restrepo assist) 17’
Monarchs: 2-1, Maikel Chang (penalty) 48’
Monarchs: 2-2, Jack Blake (penalty) 56’
Monarchs 2-3, Kyle Coffee (Douglas Martinez assist) 72’
SAFC: Yellow Card (Moises Hernandez) 47’
SAFC: Yellow Card (Michael Lahoud) 57’
SAFC: Yellow Card (Walter Restrepo) 58’
Monarchs: Yellow Card (Jordan Pena) 62’
PHOTOS: DARREN ABATE / USL CHAMPIONSHIP PHOTOGRAPHER/ INSTAGRAM @PEAKACTION
IMAGES: SAN ANTONIO FC TWITTER