San Antonio FC (7-6-8) made it five straight unbeaten matches in a row and three wins in their last four games as they defeated Real Monarchs SLC (8-4-7) by a score of 3-1 Saturday night at Toyota Field in front of 6,550 fans. Brian Gomez, newcomer Frank Lopez, and Billy Forbes all scored for SAFC as they enacted some revenge on the Monarchs from an early season loss in Utah.
The Monarchs were forced to finish the match with ten men after Forward Lionel Etoundi was sent off with a straight red card for a reckless challenge on SAFC Goal Keeper Matt Cardone in the 41'. The play forced Cardone out of the match, leaving the game in the hands of backup Keeper Jonathan Viscosi. A mix-up in the back between Viscosi and his defense led to a quick goal for Monarchs before the break. But Viscosi would bounce back with some incredible saves in the second half to help San Antonio seal the victory.
Said Viscosi after the match, “Every game I try and be ready for the unexpected, and every time it doesn’t happen you think that it’s bound to happen at some point. Once it came I took a deep breath and tried to get on the ball to settle in and get the boys going. Unfortunately right at the end of the half we had that mishap, but we spoke about it and we were able to see it out in the second half.”
The game got off to the perfect start for San Antonio when Midfielder Brian Gomez chipped Keeper David Ochoa for the game's opening goal in the 15'. It was his 4th goal of the season and his first since May 18th against Tulsa.
That was quickly followed up by new San Antonio sensation Frank Lopez who was making his home debut for the black and silver. He doubled the lead in the 31' off an assist by Midfielder Cristian Parano. Ochoa got his gloves on the shot, but it was too powerful and made it past him into the net. It was the third goal for Lopez in a San Antonio FC uniform and his 9th of the season. An incredible start for the loanee who was only playing his third game with SAFC. His nine goals ties him for 9th place among goal scores across all of USL Championship.
Manger Darren Powell was big on praise for Lopez. “Frank has come in and given us a different look, but everything that we do is a collective effort on both sides of the ball. It’s not an individual thing, it’s a team effort and a collective effort attacking. We had some really good moments and passages of play that almost came off into something really good, but we have to continue working on that and our defensive effort.”
In the second half Billy Forbes would seal the victory for SAFC by adding a goal in the 83', assisted by, who else, Frank Lopez. Forbes has 2 goals and 2 assists in the last four games. The two players have combined for 5 goals and 3 assists over the last four games (Lopez has only played 3) - needless to say, the two players are working very well together in the new look SAFC attack.
The win leaves SAFC in 11th place, just one spot out of playoff position. And it leaves them even on points with Sacramento at 27. Sacramento comes into Toyota Field next Saturday night. Get ready for a big time Western Conference shootout.
SAFC: 1-0, Brian Gomez 15’
SAFC: 2-0, Frank Lopez (Cristian Parano assist) 31’
SLC: 2-1, Luis Palma 45’
SAFC: 3-1, Billy Forbes (Frank Lopez assist) 83’
SLC: Yellow Card (Noah Powder) 28’
SLC: Red Card (Lionel Etoundi) 42’
SLC: Yellow Card (Justin Portillo) 51’
SLC: Yellow Card (Jack Blake) 62’
SLC: Yellow Card (Konrad Plewa) 82’
SLC: Yellow Card (Kalen Ryden) 90’
PHOTOS: DARREN ABATE / INSTAGRAM: @PEAKACTION
IMAGES: SAN ANTONIO FC TWITTER