San Antonio FC will play a quick two match road trip in four short days this week, starting this Wednesday night at El Paso. It is the last of three straight Wednesday night league games for SAFC and the last of three straight Copa Tejas matches in league play as well. This is the second time that these two teams have played in the last three weeks.
After this match, San Antonio only has one more Copa Tejas match remaining in its inaugural campaign – at home against RGV on August 17th. Thanks to a SAFC win over Austin, they are very much alive in the Copa standings. While they wouldn’t officially be eliminated from the competition with a loss to El Paso, realistically, they need to win it. El Paso is the only team without a win in Copa Tejas.
Here’s a look at the standings going into this one.
San Antonio FC made an interesting personnel move this week when they added LA Galaxy II Forward Frank Lopez on loan for the rest of the season. Lopez joins Jamieson IV as the second striker on loan from the Galaxy organization this year. What makes this move particularly intriguing is that Lopez was Galaxy II's leading scorer with six goals. Needless to say, it's not normal for a team to send away their leading scorer to a team that is in direct competition with their organization. Let alone in the middle of the season. Lopez immediately becomes the leading scorer for SAFC (current leader Guzman has 5). Hopefully he can energize a squad that has struggled on the road throughout 2019.
Said Lopez, “I was waiting for the right opportunity for me and I think there’s no better place for me than San Antonio. I hope to help the team make the playoffs and make a championship run, but above all I hope to contribute to the squad.”
San Antonio comes into this one having played their best game in two months as they thumped Austin thanks to goals from Parano and Forbes. Parano has now scored twice in three games. It was the first goal for Forbes since opening day four months ago.
It was a big step in the right direction for a team fighting to get back into the playoff conversation and it reaffirms that things can change quickly in this league. SAFC has a chance to rewrite the story in the second half of this season. But the biggest challenge for them remains on the road where they have not won at all.
SAFC Goal Keeper Matt Cardone echoed exactly that. “It was a much-needed win and I think we’re starting to build some momentum. We still have half the season to play for and get into the playoffs, and hopefully this momentum carries us through the rest of the season.”
El Paso comes into this match off a bye week in league play so they will be well rested. Their last match was Saturday July 6th at OKC Energy, a game that ended in a 1-1 draw. While SAFC had a bye in league play, they still played a 90-minute match on Saturday night against Cardiff City, losing 1-0. However, 22 players saw the field for SAFC so most players should still be fairly fresh come Wednesday night.
El Paso has a had a good inaugural campaign so far, but the long season is starting to catch up to them. They have no wins in their last four matches. It might be a great time to face them again.
There were no goals when these two teams met at the end of June, but El Paso are certainly capable. Jerome Kiesewetter has 10 goals and is in 4th place in the USL Championship Golden Boot chase.
Omar Salgado and Sebastien Contreras lead the team with 4 assists each.
Defensively Logan Ketterer has 8 clean sheets – including one against SAFC – which is tied for second in all of USL Championship. Needless to say, he’s one of the best. And in case you forgot, he even saved a penalty kick in the first meeting.
Not good news for a San Antonio attack that hasn’t been able to get off the ground away from home. But El Paso has been vulnerable at home, losing three times on their ground so far.
San Antonio has plenty to play for on two fronts in this game. But they will need more than the one single road point they earned in the first half of the season if this teams wants to play in the postseason. This is their chance to show the league that the second half of this season will be a different SAFC team. It’s all in front of them and it all starts with the first of two big road matches this week.
The Matchup (W-D-L)
San Antonio FC (5-5-8) at El Paso Locomotive (7-7-4)
Southwest University Park, Wednesday July 17th, 2019
Kickoff 8:00pm Central Time
Current Form (W-D-L)
San Antonio FC - 2019 Road Record 0-1-7
El Paso Locomotive – 2019 Home Record 4-2-3
All Time History (W-D-L)
This will be the second meeting between these two clubs. In the first one just a few weeks ago, Jack Barmby missed on a first half penalty kick and then picked up two yellow cards in a five-minute span of the second half, earning a red card and forcing SAFC to finish the match with ten men. It ended 0-0, making the all time record 0-1-0.
6/26/19 @ SA, D 0-0
7/17/19 @ ELP
These two teams met in San Antonio back on June 26th and it would end in a 0-0 draw. Possession was close and shots were even at 11 each. SAFC had to finish the match with 10 men after Barmby was red carded for picking up two yellows. Barmby also missed a first half PK.
Here are the match highlights:
SAFC Wins If :
…if they can contain one of the best goal scorers in all of USL and be a different team on the road in the second half of the season.
PHOTOS: DARREN ABATE / INSTAGRAM @ PEAKACTION
IMAGES: SAN ANTONIO FC TWITTER