San Antonio FC returns home on Saturday night to take on Orange County SC in the first of three straight home matches over the course of eight short days. That will include an Open Cup match on Tuesday night against Laredo Heat, as well as two league games.
SAFC comes into this match off arguably their worst performance of the season. Or at least, their worst half. After trailing New Mexico 1-0 at the break on Sunday night, things quickly unraveled for SAFC in the second half, giving up two goals in a four-minute span that left SAFC bruised, battered, and defeated for the fourth time in four games on the road this season. Most troubling was the fact that SAFC showed very little fight throughout the final 15 minutes of the match.
Defender Josh Yaro knew it wasn’t a good performance saying after the match, “This is a big loss and it’s the first time this season that we feel we were outplayed. Overall, it’s tough, but as a team we need to learn from it, look at what we did right and wrong, and build from there. We’re looking to bounce back and earn three points on Saturday.”
San Antonio FC has lost all four road matches this season and they have been shut out in three of them. If San Antonio FC can’t figure out how to get results away from home, it will be tough for them to get into a good position for a deep playoff run.
The standings are tight out West, however. San Antonio finds themselves stuck in 16th place coming into this match, but the gap between them and second place is only 5 points. It's shaping up to be a highly contested Table and every single point matters.
Orange County comes into this match with perfect balance. Like San Antonio, they have only won three games this season. But OC also has 3 draws and 3 losses. Their 3 draws allowing them to nose ahead of SAFC on the USL West Table by two points. Both teams have won three of their last five, but OC will come into this match feeling far better about themselves after defeating Phoenix Rising 2-1 over the weekend.
That is despite the fact that OC-SC, like San Antonio, is winless on the road in four matches. If San Antonio carries any advantage into this game, it is definitely their play at Toyota Field, where they have won three straight games. But it will take more than just showing up on Saturday night to get a result.
San Antonio has not played well in this series as a whole. They haven’t won a game against OC-SC since September 2017 and they have only won once at home in this series. That was in 2016 when they were still known as the OC Blues. Last year at Toyota Field Orange County thumped SAFC 3-0. They outscored SAFC 6-0 overall in 2018. So, this will not be an easy game by any stretch.
Forward Darwin Jones leads the way offensively for OC-SC with 4 goals, but they also have three goals each from Forward Michael Seaton and surprisingly, from Defender Leonardo. Seaton scored the winner against Phoenix over the weekend. They get contributions from a lot of places across the field. Forward Harry Forrester leads in shots with 16. Forward Jerry Van Ewijk leads in chances created. And Midfielders Aodhan Quinn and Liam Trotter both lead the team with 2 assists.
Like their opponent last week, OC-SC are one of the best attacking clubs in USL Championship with 17 goals scored, good for 4th in the West. Their 20% conversion rate is 5th in the West. With that kind of offensive balance and dangerous players throughout their lineup, it’s no surprise that they are one of the best offensive teams so far.
Both teams have given up 15 goals this season. Three keepers have started for OC-SC. Patrick McLain leads the way with 4 appearances and 2 clean sheets. Defender Walker Hume leads in clearances with 25.
This week is going to be a grind for SAFC. So far, home is where the heart is and more importantly, home is where the wins are. SAFC would do well to keep that streak going with their play on the road looking fairly dire so far.
The Matchup (W-D-L)
Orange County SC (3-3-3) at San Antonio FC (3-1-5)
Toyota Field, Saturday May 11th, 2019
Kickoff 7:30pm Central Time
Current Form (W-D-L)
San Antonio FC - 2019 Home Record 3-1-1
Orange County SC– 2019 Road Record 0-2-2
All Time History (W-D-L)
Saturday will mark the seventh meeting between these two clubs. Since re-branding to Orange County SC in 2017, OC has dominated the series with SAFC only winning once in four games. Orange County swept the season series last year. All time, SAFC is 2-1-3 against OC. They are 1-1-1 at Toyota Field.
5/11/19 @ SA
7/20/19 @ OC
Orange County dominated SAFC at Championship Soccer Stadium at OC Great Park on July 14, 2018, winning 3-0. OC had goals from Thomas Enevoldsen, Mats Bjurman, and Michael Seaton in the decisive win. If you can bear to re-live it, here are the match highlights:
SAFC Wins If :
….if they can maintain their home form and take advantage of an opponent that hasn’t played well on the road. SAFC might need the push of the home crowd to get some confidence back after being thoroughly whipped on Sunday night in New Mexico.