San Antonio FC (4-4-8) lost to Fresno Foxes FC (6-7-2) by a score of 3-2 on tough field conditions at Chukchansi Park, a baseball stadium, in Fresno California on Friday night. After a scoreless first half, the match would break wide open in the second half as five goals were scored between the two teams. Jemal Johnson scored a brace for Fresno and Forward Jaime Chavez added a third goal for the home side in the win.
It was the 7th road loss of the season for SAFC in league play. They still have no road wins in 2019. San Antonio only has one win in their last eight league games.
With the game tied at 1-1, SAFC Defender Eby Ackon was called for a penalty in the 63' that could at best be described as soft and at worst, extremely weak. For the second road game in a row SAFC was victimized by a very questionable penalty at a crucial moment of the game. Fresno would capitalize and then put SAFC away for good with Chavez's goal, which gave them an insurmountable two goal lead.
San Antonio would cut the lead to one thanks to the first goal of the season for Cristian Parano in the 78'. The goal was assisted by Billy Forbes, his first of the year, but the SAFC comeback attempt would fall short.
Said Manager Darren Powell after the match, “It’s always difficult to come away from home into a hostile environment, which presents challenges that are there for all to see. We came into the locker room knowing we had to do better, but at certain moments of the game things become unpredictable. Now we need to make sure we refocus and get ready for Wednesday night.”
Fresno came out firing right at the opening kick. With the first shot of the game, Fresno hit the post on a chance by Forward Jaime Chavez, just 36 seconds into the match. It was a clear signal that they were going to attack early and often and a precursor of things to come. Fresno would dominate the opening ten minutes, peppering San Antonio's net with several shots.
Last week's hero, Midfielder Jack Barmby, had SAFC's first good chance of the game in the 12' off a free kick just outside of Fresno's box. He challenged Fresno keeper C.J. Cochran on the near side but Cochran would make a terrific save to keep the game scoreless.
In the 22' Fresno would put the ball in the back of the net, but the play was quickly whistled for offside and the goal was waived off.
SAFC Midfielder Brian Gomez would go down injured just a few minutes later, forcing Manager Darren Powell to bring in Billy Forbes as a first half substitute. It was the second straight year that SAFC has seen an attacking player go down injured on a baseball field.
Things heated up In the second half. Jemal Johnson hit a stunner of a goal from distance to open the scoring for Fresno in the 56'. Two minutes later San Antonio FC Forward Bradford Jamieson IV would answer to level the game at 1-1. It was the 4th goal of the year for Jamieson and his first since April.
After the two goals, Billy Forbes had a breakaway chance in the 60' for San Antonio but he was shut down by a collapsing defense as he entered the box. Shortly after that, SAFC was called for the match changing penalty and SAFC would not recover. Johnson would score his penalty and Chavez would add a goal to make it 3-1. That was followed by Parano cutting the Fresno lead to 3-2 to wrap up the scoring, as San Antonio could not find the equalizer in the final ten minutes.
Despite the loss and the three goals surrendered, once again SAFC Keeper Matt Cardone had a sensational night in goal, making several high quality saves to keep SAFC in the match until the end. He was credited with five official saves in the match.
Next up for San Antonio FC is a home game in Copa Tejas play against El Paso Locomotive on Wednesday night.
FFC: 1-0, Jemal Johnson (Jaime Chavez assist) 56’
SAFC: 1-1, Bradford Jamieson IV (Jose Gallegos assist) 58’
FFC: 2-1, Jemal Johnson (penalty) 64’
FFC: 3-1, Jaime Chavez (Qudus Lawal assist) 70’
SAFC: 3-2, Cristian Parano (Billy Forbes assist) 78’
FFC: Yellow Card (Sam Strong) 12’
FFC: Yellow Card (Jemal Johnson) 20’
SAFC: Yellow Card (Bradford Jamieson IV) 67’
SAFC: Yellow Card (Jack Barmby) 90’
PHOTOS: DARREN ABATE / INSTAGRAM @PEAKACTION
IMAGES: SAN ANTONIO FC TWITTER