San Antonio FC (6-5-8) defeated El Paso Locomotive (7-7-5) by a score of 3-1 on Wednesday night behind a thrilling debut from newly acquired Forward Frank Lopez, who joined the team on loan from Los Angeles Galaxy II on Monday. Lopez was the leading scorer for Galaxy II in 2019 with 6 goals.
Lopez scored the first brace in a debut for a San Antonio FC player since game one in the team's history. That's when Jason Johnson scored a brace against Seattle Sounders II in the inaugural match for SAFC back in 2016.
Lopez's performance paved the way for the first road win of the season for SAFC. It came at the perfect time as the win keeps San Antonio very much alive in the all-Texas Copa Tejas competition. SAFC is now level on points with Austin at the top of the regional tournament standings with one game left to play; next month at home against RGV.
Said Lopez after the match, "I'm very happy. It's a dream start for any player to arrive at a club and score, even if it's just one. But more than anything I'm happy to have earned the three points, because that's what matters."
Frank Lopez wasted little time making his mark in San Antonio. In the 8' he followed up a Parano shot that wasn't handled by El Paso Keeper Ketterer and pounced on it immediately for the opportunistic tap-in goal and the early 1-0 San Antonio lead. It was his first goal for the Silver and Black but his 7th in USL Championship this season. It was exactly what San Antonio envisioned when they made the move to acquire the Galaxy II leading scorer.
Lopez would make it a brace just before halftime when he got behind the El Paso defense on a breakaway and slotted the ball past Ketterer for a 2-1 SAFC lead at halftime. The goal would turn out to be the match winner.
Earlier in the first half, there was controversy in the 21' when El Paso seemingly leveled the match at 1-1 by Midfielder Sebastian Contreras. But the goal was waived off for "offside" after a discussion by the referees. Replay showed that El Paso Forward Omar Salgado was actually onside, but USL Championship does not utilize Video Assistant Referee. It was a rare break on the road for San Antonio FC this season.
That good fortune would be short lived as El Paso would score in the 28' off a corner kick set piece and this time there would be no taking it off the scoreboard. Defender Andrew Fox was the goal scorer for the Locomotive, firing home a loose ball from inside the San Antonio box.
In the second half, things had barely got started again when bad weather hit the El Paso area. The match was stopped in the 50' for a lightning delay. Play would finally resume nearly 50 minutes later.
San Antonio hit the ground running after the weather delay. Just two minutes after the re-start, Midfielder Billy Forbes danced his way through the El Paso box and delivered a perfect pass across the face of the El Paso goal to Forward Bradford Jamieson IV who knocked it home for a 3-1 lead in the 52'. Both Forbes and Jamieson each have one goal and two assists in their last two matches.
With a comfortable two goal lead, SAFC was able to see the match out and earn their first road victory of the season. Said Manager Darren Powell, “I’m extremely proud of the way our guys applied themselves tonight on both sides of the ball. They were very committed, organized, and disciplined, and when you play road games on tough environments you have to do that.”
Up next for San Antonio FC is another road match on Saturday night against Orange County.
SAFC: 1-0, Frank Lopez 8’
El Paso: 1-1, Andrew Fox 28’
SAFC: 2-1, Frank Lopez (Bradford Jamieson IV assist) 45’
SAFC: 3-1, Bradford Jamieson IV (Billy Forbes assist) 52’
El Paso: Yellow Card (Andrew Fox) 14’
SAFC: Yellow Card (Pascal Eboussi) 34’
El Paso: Yellow Card (Omar Salgado) 90’
PHOTOS: DARREN ABATE / INSTAGRAM: @PEAKACTION
IMAGES: SAN ANTONIO FC TWITTER