San Antonio FC lost to Cardiff City FC 1-0 on Saturday night at Toyota Field in front of 7,723 fans thanks to a second half penalty on Cardiff Midfielder Josh Murphy. Murphy was fouled by San Antonio Goal Keeper Jonathan Viscosi as he was chasing down a ball moving away from his net near the end line. He collided with Murphy and the penalty was given. Murphy would step up to take his own penalty kick and he easily beat Viscosi for the game's only goal.
Cardiff City FC is the first team from outside of North America to play SAFC at Toyota Field. Last season they were in the English Premiere league, but they were relegated to the EFL Championship for this season. That league is the equivalent of USL Championship here in the States, but minus the opportunity for top flight promotion. This was the first match of Cardiff's pre-season and three-game North American tour.
San Antonio Manager Darren Powell was full of praise after the game. “I just want to thank Cardiff City FC, the gaffer Neil Warnock, Kevin Blackwell and all their staff for choosing to come to San Antonio as part of their preseason. I’m really proud of our players. Every single one of them came out tonight with intensity and represented this club and city to the best of their ability, and they delivered a very good performance against quality opposition.”
In the first half SAFC Defender Joshua Yaro squashed the first Cardiff opportunity of the match in the 4' when he bravely laid out in front of a De Cordova-Reid shot in the middle of San Antonio's box to deflect the attempt out of harms way. A minute later SAFC Keeper Jonathan Viscosi made a terrific save off a powerful Cardiff shot.
In the 7' SAFC would get their first shot on goal from Brian Gomez who returned from injury after a two game absence, but Cardiff Keeper Neil Etheridge was up to the task.
In the 14' Cardiff's Bruno Ecuele Manga tested Viscosi from distance and hit the crossbar, but no further danger would come from the possession. Gomez would get another chance for SAFC a minute later after a fantastic buildup on the left wing from Billy Forbes, but Gomez pushed his shot wide of the net.
SAFC Midfielder Jack Barmby would test Etheridge from about 30 yards out on a free kick in the 23', forcing the keeper to make a near-side save from his knees. Cardiff Midfielder Josh Murphy would respond with a wicked volley in the 30' that Viscosi was able to knock down and then control.
In the second half SAFC made eleven player changes including bringing on three SAFC Academy players in Rocky Perez, Angel Bacho and Abraham Lincon. Joey Batrouni would also make his club debut as Goal Keeper with a sub in the 81'. Batrouni would make two terrific saves in his short stint. And of the three Academy players, Bacho had the best moment; a great rip from the top of the box that went just over the bar.
Eby Ackon got things going for SAFC just three minutes into the second half with a one on one chance that was stifled by Etheridge.
Cardiff would start to make their own long list of player changes as the half wore on, eight in all, but it was starter Josh Murphy who made the breakthrough with his decisive penalty and that was enough to make the difference in the match.
Said Cardiff City FC Manager Neil Warnock of the experience of being in San Antonio, “I’m very impressed with their stadium, it was a good atmosphere and it was nice to see it quite full, so it was a good workout. There were no injuries, (we showed) a lot of endeavor in our first full game, so it was good preparation.”
San Antonio FC hits the road for two matches next week starting with a Copa Tejas showdown in El Paso on Wednesday night.
CCFC: 0-1, Josh Murphy (Penalty) 57’
CCFC: Yellow Card (Josh Murphy) 71’
SAFC: Yellow Card (Rafa Castillo) 76’
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