On a brisk Saturday night at Toyota Field San Antonio FC battled Orange County SC to a 0-0 stalemate. The end result was one point for each side, but for San Antonio FC and how they have played at home, it will feel like two points dropped. San Antonio did extend their home unbeaten streak to four games and came away with a clean sheet - their third straight clean sheet at home. It was a huge bounce back from an ugly defeat in New Mexico last week that saw the defense surrender three goals.
Midfielder Billy Forbes echoed that exact sentiment after the match, saying “I think we deserved a win with the way we played tonight. It reflects on the preparation we had this week, but we’ll take the draw, which was a step forward from the last match we played.”
The match featured another formation shift for SAFC as they came out with a 4-3-3. Defenders Kai Greene and Moises Hernandez, who have played in Midfield positions rather frequently, were relegated to back line duty in this one. Meanwhile Cristian Parano and Forbes returned to the starting lineup. The two dynamic players hadn't started a match together since March 30th, away at Austin.
The two players started hot, creating two terrific chances in the opening ten minutes that were stymied as Orange County's keeper Patrick McClain was up to the task, making two big saves early on. It looked like it would be a night where SAFC would create a lot of pressure offensively, but the attack would fizzle as the game wore on. San Antonio would only come up with one more shot on target for the entire match.
San Antonio keeper Matt Cardone would make his best save of the night right on the 15' mark of the match, off an Orange County corner kick which deflected on net dangerously from a Harry Forrester header attempt. Cardone was able to get a hand on the ball with his quick reflexes to keep the game scoreless.
Orange County would get their best opportunity in the 60' when Cardone went to ground attempting to make a save and the rebound dribbled loosely in front of San Antonio's net. The ball was in position for any free OC player to tap it home, but SAFC was able to make the clearance before anyone could find the rebound chance.
Moments later SAFC Forward Ever Guzman would put a chance inches wide of the Orange County goal; easily the best attempt for the night for SAFC.
Despite the draw, Manager Darren Powell liked what he saw, saying after the match “Our guys showed a lot of heart tonight. We wanted to make sure we preserved the clean sheet and that we created a handful of good opportunities to score. All in all we’re proud of the effort from our players tonight, and getting a clean sheet is important at this stage.”
Next up for SAFC is a home match in the Second Round of US Open Cup play against Laredo Heat from NPSL. That match is Tuesday night at 7:30pm. SAFC returns to league play at Toyota Field on Saturday May 18th against Tulsa Roughnecks.
SAFC: Yellow Card (Michael Lahoud) 17’
SAFC: Yellow Card (Moises Hernandez) 59’
SAFC: Yellow Card (Ever Guzman) 68’
OCSC: Yellow Card (Michael Seaton) 70’
OCSC: Yellow Card (Aodhan Quinn) 72’
OCSC: Yellow Card (Harry Forrester) 85’
PHOTOS: DARREN ABATE / USL CHAMPIONSHIP PHOTOGRAPHER / INSTAGRAM: @PEAKACTION
IMAGES: SAN ANTONIO FC TWITTER