San Antonio FC returns to the road this weekend for their only away game of this current five game stretch. They’ll play two more at home after this one. But for now, the focus is on rebounding against the number two team in the West after a disappointing match against Sacramento that left SAFC with only their second home loss of the year. The loss also ended their five-match unbeaten run.
The good news for SAFC is that they didn’t roll over and give up after going 3-nil down in the opening half. They peppered the Sacramento end with chance after chance in the second half, ultimately scoring two goals but coming up one short from a comeback draw. The bad, obviously, was a first half where SAFC seemed to come out flat which resulted in a deficit that proved too steep to overcome.
Midfielder Michael LaHoud pointed to the finer moments in the match as the difference. “Soccer is a game of details. If we don’t take care of details like set pieces, throw-ins-- these are the things that top teams do well. If we want to say we’re a top team in this league, we have to take care of those details, and that’s a massive lesson learned.”
The page turns to Reno 1868 FC this week. The first time these two teams met in 2019, it was arguably the most exciting match of the year for SAFC fans at Toyota Field. San Antonio erased a 2-0 deficit behind second half goals from Ethan Bryant and Jose Gallegos that came one minute apart. For Gallegos, it was his first professional goal, making it that much sweeter in the 3-2 victory for San Antonio.
Reno comes into this match as a top two team in the West and riding high off a stretch of games that has seen them win 7 of their last 8, including a 2-1 road win over SAFC’s Texas rivals RGV FC last weekend.
Reno is 3rd in all of USL Championship with 50 goals scored and they are third in shots as well with 377 tallied, so they will test defenses early and often. SAFC knows this all too well after they fell behind by two goals to Reno earlier this year. They can’t expect to recover from a start like that again, especially on Reno’s ground where they have only one loss in eleven games.
Forwards Corey Hertzog and Brian Brown lead the way for Reno 1868 with 11 and 8 goals respectively. Hertzog is tied for 5th in goal scoring across all of USL Championship. Reno also has four players with 5 or more assists, lead by Raul Mendiola with 7.
Goal keeping duties have been evenly split for Reno between James Marcinkowski and Matt Bersano, with Bersano edging Marcinkowski in appearances 12-11. Marcinkowski has three clean sheets to Bersano’s 2, but it’s anyone’s guess which keeper will start for Reno on Saturday night.
Defenders Zach Carroll (78) and Brent Richards (64) lead Reno’s defense in number of clearances.
Midfielder Jack Barmby seemed to sum up the week concisely, saying after the Sacramento match, “When you’re on a winning streak, teams are out to beat you and there’s a little more intent to want to beat you. It’s the name of the game, just like next week we’ll go out to Reno and want to beat them as much as they want to beat us. We have to dust ourselves off and learn from tonight, and do some tactics in terms of set pieces, which I’m sure we will do and figure out.”
If SAFC can indeed figure it out against one of the league’s best for the second time this season, and extend their unbeaten streak on the road to three games, they’ll be set up for success with two straight home games to follow.
The Matchup (W-D-L)
San Antonio FC (7-6-9)at Reno 1868 FC (13-5-5)
Greater Nevada Field, Saturday August 10th, 2019
Kickoff 9:30pm Central Time
Current Form (W-D-L)
San Antonio FC - 2019 Road Record 1-2-7
Reno 1868 FC – 2019 Home Record 7-3-1
All Time History (W-D-L)
Saturday will mark the 6th all-time meeting between these two clubs and the series has been in Reno’s favor. Reno has won three of the first five match-ups, including sweeping SAFC in two matches last year. But SAFC got one back with a 3-2 win at Toyota Field in June. San Antonio has never won in Reno.
All time San Antonio is 2-0-3 against Reno.
6/8/19 @ SA, W 3-2
8/10/19 @ Reno
San Antonio FC had a thrilling 3-2 come from behind victory against Reno on June 8th. Guzman got the first SAFC goal just before halftime, and SAFC youngsters Ethan Bryant and Jose Gallegos each scored one minute apart in the second half to complete the comeback.
Here are the match highlights:
SAFC Wins If :
… if they can play better in the opening half and sustain that same second half intent they displayed against Sacramento for a full 90 minutes in a tough road environment.
PHOTOS: DARREN ABATE / INSTAGRAM: @PEAKACTION
IMAGES: SAN ANTONIO FC TWITTER