San Antonio FC (9-7-10) looked more like the road team from the first half of the season than the one who was unbeaten in their last three road games as they dropped an embarrassing 5-1 result to last place Tacoma Defiance (5-5-15) on Friday night. It was only the 5th win of the season for Tacoma. All five of their wins have come at home. Tacoma was lead by Justin Dhillon who scored a brace.
The biggest story pre-game was seeing SAFC's hottest player Cristian Parano not in the starting lineup. He still made the bench, but it was a bit of a surprise to see him out of the starting 11. SAFC Manger Darren Powell no doubt felt it was an ideal time to rest the talented player with Tacoma being a bottom of the table team and a road meeting with the league's best team, Phoenix Rising, looming next week. It may be one he regrets now.
"It's a tough result tonight," SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell. "Tacoma delivered a good performance for 90 minutes and we couldn't match it. The most important thing at this time is the response for everybody in preparation for next Saturday's match."
Tacoma would make the most of their early opportunities. Justin Dhillon, who has spent time with parent club Seattle Sounders of late, was back with Tacoma for this match. And he buried his chance into the top left corner of SAFC's net off a Shandon Hopeau pass, giving Tacoma the 1-0 lead in the 17'. It was the team leading 8th goal for Dhillon in his 18th appearance. He would add his 9th later.
Midfielder Danny Robles would make it 2-0 for Tacoma in the 29' off a blistering counter attack. For the second time in the half it was Tacoma Midfielder Shandon Hopeau delivering the assist. He had zero assists entering this match.
Powell would make another curious coaching decision when he took out Frank Lopez with 25 minutes to go. Lopez has 5 goals in 8 games for SAFC. His replacement Ever Guzman, while certainly capable, has not scored since June 8th; a span of eight appearances.
San Antonio FC Defender Moises Hernandez would be called for a penalty for a hand ball in the box in the 75'. Tacoma's Ocampo-Chavez would make it 3-0 with his ensuing penalty kick. Tacoma's Dobbelaere added a goal in the 80' after subbing on just 15 minutes prior, bringing the lead to 4-0.
Defender Joshua Yaro pulled one back for San Antonio; his first goal of the season. But Dhillon would hit right back with his second goal of the night, extending the Tacoma advantage to 5-1. Tacoma had only scored 22 goals all season prior to their 5 goal outburst against SAFC.
It was only the second defeat in the last ten games for SAFC, but given the quality of the opponent that they were facing, it will sting pretty badly. It's a missed opportunity for SAFC to solidify their playoff positioning.
SAFC will have to lick their wounds quickly. They travel to face the best team in USL Championship West, Phoenix Rising, next week. Phoenix Rising has won a league record 16 straight games and counting. The streak is also the longest winning streak in U.S. Pro Soccer history.
Tacoma: 1-0, Justin Dhillon (Shandon Hopeau assist) 17'
Tacoma: 2-0, Daniel Robles (Shandon Hopeau assist) 29'
Tacoma: 3-0, Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez (penalty) 75'
Tacoma: 4-0, Ethan Dobbelaere (Nicholas Hinds assist) 80'
SAFC: 4-1, Joshua Yaro (Jack Barmby assist) 88'
Tacoma: 5-1, Justin Dhillon (Alec Diaz assist) 90'
Tacoma: Yellow Card (Justin Dhillon) 9'
SAFC: Yellow Card (Jack Barmby) 31'
SAFC: Yellow Card (Moises Hernandez) 74'
Tacoma: Yellow Card (Jesse Daley) 86'
SAFC: Yellow Card (Walter Restrepo) 86'
PHOTOS: DARREN ABATE / INSTAGRAM: @PEAKACTION
IMAGES: SAN ANTONIO FC TWITTER