San Antonio FC plays their first game of a two-match road trip that spans a short six days when they travel west to take on Los Angeles Galaxy II on Friday night. It’s also the beginning of a stretch of games that will see SAFC play three times in nine days.
Perhaps anticipating this, SAFC made two roster moves last week. They added Tony Taylor, a 30-year old Forward with MLS and USL Championship experience. More surprisingly, they brought back player / coach / SAFC everyman Ryan Roushandel. Both players came on as substitutes in the 3-1 win over OKC Energy last weekend. And that wasn’t the only familiar face providing roster support.
SAFC mainstay Rafa Castillo made his first start of the season on Saturday night. Naturally, he scored the game’s opening goal – his first in over a calendar year. Castillo has now scored in all four SAFC seasons.
Castillo was thrilled to make a big team contribution again. “To come out and score is extremely satisfying on a personal level, but more importantly on a collective level it gives us a bit of oxygen and a chance to breathe, especially as we fight to earn a playoff position. To be able to contribute and help the team out is what’s most important, and now it gives us a little bit of breathing room heading into our last six games.”
Some more good news for SAFC this week; they will get both Midfielder Jack Barmby and Defender Moises Hernandez back from suspension.
This match will be a homecoming for two SAFC players who are on loan from the Galaxy organization for 2019. Unfortunately for Bradford Jamieson IV, he is out for the year with an injury. He scored for SAFC against his old team back in April. He was joined by a second Galaxy player, Frank Lopez, in mid-season in what could easily be called the biggest move of the season for SAFC. They acquired the talented striker in July. At the time he was Galaxy II’s leading scorer, which is what made it so surprising. Now he’ll have a chance to show them what they have been missing.
In 10 games with SAFC Lopez has scored 6 Goals and added 1 Assist with SAFC winning five of those games. In every game that Lopez has scored with SAFC, the team has scored three goals or more. He has definitely been a big boost to an offense that was struggling before his arrival. SAFC's 48 goals scored this year is the most for any SAFC team in their short history, surpassing the previous high of 45. And there are still six games to play.
After two straight down years, Los Angeles Galaxy II has had a bounce back season in 2019. LA is currently in playoff position and they have won three of their last five matches. But they will come into this match on a down note after doing what almost every USL Championship West team has done this season – they lost to Phoenix in Phoenix. Rising won easily 4-1, extending their winning streak to 19 games.
And the score line could have been worse. The match was suspended in the 77’ due to player safety reasons as Rising FC fans were throwing objects onto the field at players. As both clubs were walking back to their locker rooms a fan threw an object and hit a Galaxy II player. The incident is a black eye on USL’s darling franchise of the moment. Game suspensions of that nature are quite rare in USL Championship. Nonetheless, it’s still a match that ends in the loss column for Galaxy II.
Galaxy II have been lead by Midfielder Kai Koreniuk with 8 Goals and Forward Augustine Williams with six. Midfielders Brian Iloski and Jose Hernandez each lead the team with four Assists.
Three different Keepers have seen time for Galaxy II with Justin vom Steeg leading the team in Appearances (13), Saves (40), and clean sheets (3). Defender Thomas Hilliard-Arce leads the way with 111 clearances.
Galaxy II have only beaten SAFC once in 7 tries. With SAFC looking up at Galaxy II in the standings, there’s a lot on the line for the Silver and Black. If they want to be in the playoffs, they have to win games like this one.
The road woes have been very real for this team in 2019. But Hollywood is for the stars. Maybe a trip to LA is where Lopez’s star, and the rest of his SAFC teammates, can shine at their brightest.
The Matchup (W-D-L)
San Antonio FC (10-7-11) at Los Angeles Galaxy II (10-9-9)
Dignity Health Sports Park, Friday September 20th, 2019
Kickoff 9:30pm Central Time
Current Form (W-D-L)
San Antonio FC - 2019 Road Record 2-2-9
Los Angeles Galaxy II – 2019 Home Record 5-5-4
All Time History (W-D-L)
Saturday will mark the eighth all time meeting between these two clubs. San Antonio has done very well in the series, only losing once and leading in total points 12-6. SAFC are currently on a five-match unbeaten run against LA including a 2-0 win at Toyota Field in April. All time San Antonio leads the series 3-3-1.
4/13/19 @ SA, W 2-0
9/20/19 @ LA2
San Antonio FC defeated LA Galaxy II by a score of 2-0 at Toyota Field on April 13th. Bradford Jamieson IV opened the scoring against his parent club in the 14’ and Guzman scored in the 35’ to give SAFC a comfortable 2-0 lead that they would see out until the final whistle.
Here are the match highlights:
SAFC Wins If :
…if they continue their run of good form against Galaxy II, and if Frank Lopez can duplicate what Jamieson IV did earlier this season and score on his parent club on the way to victory. And they’ll likely need to do it again with a lot of the same players we saw last weekend.
San Antonio FC midfielder Cristian Parano was named to the USL Championship Team of the Week on Tuesday. Parano recorded two assists in the 3-1 home victory over OKC Energy FC last Saturday.
It was his second game with two Assists out of the last four. In his last seven appearances he has 5 Goals and 5 Assists.
Parano is becoming a bit of a regular on the USL Championship Team of the Week. He won two Player of the Week awards during the month of August.
PHOTOS: DARREN ABATE / INSTAGRAM: @PEAKACTION
IMAGES: SAN ANTONIO FC TWITTER