On a muggy, humid night at Toyota Field San Antonio FC was the better team everywhere except where it mattered most; on the scoreboard. SAFC had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Tulsa in front of 5,704 fans at Toyota Field. San Antonio FC (3-3-5, 16th place) would strike first behind a Brian Gomez goal in the 5'. Tulsa Roughnecks (4-4-3, 6th place) would hit right back off of a Rodrigo da Costa free kick just seven minutes later, and the two sides would battle to a stalemate the rest of the way.
San Antonio dominated possession 58% - 42%, out-shot Tulsa 16 to 8, and had 8 shots on target to Tulsa's 4, but could not find the winning goal despite several key chances throughout the match, particularly in the second half.
Midfielder and Captain Michael LaHoud expressed the feelings of the SAFC locker room after the match saying, "I wouldn’t say it’s much as panic, but more frustration. I think the positive about tonight is that it was just free-flowing. We dominated in every aspect of the game except the scoreboard — the one that matters. We hold ourselves accountable and we need to be better in front of goal.”
Once again, San Antonio came out firing and early on had the look of a team that could score multiple times on the night. Ever Guzman delivered a cross from the far side directly across goal to Forward Brian Gomez who buried the chance past Tulsa Goal Keeper Mason Stajduhar for the very early 1-0 in the 5'. It was the first goal for Gomez since April 20th against Real Monarchs and his third league goal of the season, tying him with three other SAFC players at the top of the SAFC scoring list. It was the first Assist of the year from Guzman.
Seven minutes later Tulsa was given a free kick just outside the SAFC box and in a very dangerous area. Midfielder Rodrigo da Costa would make SA pay with a precise free kick goal that appeared to squeak just inside the post for a goal. The official ruling was that the ball hit the post and ricocheted off of Cardone's backside, and hence, was ruled as an own goal.
In the 67' Guzman would have the best chance for SAFC to get the match winner when he broke free in the Tulsa box. He could never get full control of a Gomez pop up pass over the head of a Tulsa defender and the ball shuffled awkwardly at his feet just long enough for Stajduhar to corral it and maintain the tie game.
The match featured the return of two ex-San Antonio fan favorites in Cyprian Hedrick and AJ Ajeakwa, both of whom started the match for Tulsa. Hedrick was seen hugging SAFC players and some fans from the player tunnel, pre-match. Hedrick had three tackles and eight clearances in the match while Ajeakwa only created one chance.
SAFC Midfielder Cristian Parano was, as he has been a few times this season, seemingly everywhere in the match. And he was definitely one of the best players on the field. But yet again, he could not come up with his first goal of the season. Parano had 4 shots and an 86% passing accuracy in the match.
The match also featured the USL Championship debut of SAFC Pro Aacademy prospect Jose Gallegos. Gallegos came into the match in second half added time and only managed 2 touches, but it was a nice accolade for the young man who made his professional debut only four short days ago. Gallegos is the first of the Academy trio to play in a league match this season.
Next up for SAFC is a road trip to face in-state rivals RGV FC as SAFC will play their second Copa Tejas match of the season. Manager Darren Powell thinks his team will be ready.
"We are not going to approach an away game any different than a home game in terms of our preparation. Obviously, the environments are all different when you go on the road, but we are familiar with RGV being in the same state, so we are super excited to get ready and prepare for that match.”
SAFC: 1-0, Brian Gomez (Ever Guzman assist) 5’
Roughnecks: 1-1, Matthew Cardone (own goal) 12’
SAFC: Yellow Card (Jack Barmby) 23’
Roughnecks: Yellow Card (Jeff Addai) 45’
Roughnecks: Yellow Card (Mallan Roberts) 50’
Roughnecks: Yellow Card (Cyprian Hedrick) 71’
Roughnecks: Yellow Card (Rodrigo da Costa) 90’
PHOTOS: DARREN ABATE/ USL CHAMPIONSHIP PHOTOGRAPHER/ INSTAGRAM: @PEAKACTION
IMAGES: SAN ANTONIO FC TWITTER