San Antonio FC's (11-8-13) road woes continued as they dropped a 4-2 result to Las Vegas Lights (11-8-13) at Cashman Field in Las Vegas on Saturday night. Irvin Parra scored a first half brace for the Lights in the victory, including the match winner. Midfielder Brian Gomez and Forward Frank Lopez scored for San Antonio. It was the first ever loss for San Antonio in their history against Las Vegas and it couldn't have come at a worse time.
The loss was a devastating blow to San Antonio's playoff hopes. With two games remaining in the season, SAFC are currently in 11th place. The top ten teams qualify for the USL Championship Playoffs. If they fail to qualify for the post-season, it will be easy to understand why. Their inability to earn road wins has been the story of their season, and this was another loss on the growing pile. In 16 road games, San Antonio has only managed two wins while losing eleven times. They have also lost 4 out of their last 5 road games overall, while giving up 4 or more goals to opponents three times in that stretch.
Said Manager Darren Powell after the match, “Tonight was a disappointing outcome. It was a hard-fought game in a tough environment and we didn’t get the result we were searching for. Now we need to re-focus and prepare for Portland to continue fighting for every point as a group.”
The teams traded goals in the opening ten minutes of the match only two minutes apart. Las Vegas opened the scoring from Irvin Parra in the 8'. His shot looked very close as to whether it actually crossed the goal line or not. There was no quality replay that could confirm if the correct call was made, but a goal was awarded nonetheless.
San Antonio FC swiftly responded two minutes later with a goal from Midfielder Brian Gomez, showing off his individual skill as he weaved his way around the Vegas defense. It was his 6th goal of the season and his first since August.
In the 22' Vegas would reclaim the lead. Forward Preston Tabort Etaka settled a bouncing ball in the middle of SAFC's box and fired off a point blank shot that beat San Antonio's Keeper Matt Cardone, much to his dismay.
San Antonio Midfielder Frank Lopez had an amazing chance to level the game just before halftime when his snap header from a corner kick was blasted on frame. Vegas Keeper Thomas Olsen made an incredible save to deny SAFC's leading scorer. That would prove to be gigantic as a minute later Parra would get his second goal of the game. Instead of going into halftime tied at 2-2, SAFC found themselves down 3-1 in a demoralizing finish to the opening half.
Frank Lopez would get another big opportunity in the second half and this time he delivered. SAFC was awarded a penalty kick and Lopez would bury it in the 70' to cut the Vegas lead to 3-2. It was his eighth goal in a SAFC uniform and his 14th overall this year.
In the 81' SAFC Defender Joshua Yaro saw his perfect minutes streak for the season come to end as he had to leave the game when he picked up an injury. He was replaced by Forward Ever Guzman.
It would only get worse for SAFC after that. Forward Frank Lopez was red carded in added time for extra curricular activities after a foul when he shoved a Vegas player to the ground. That was compounded by Lopez showing the crowd double middle fingers on the way off the field. Lopez can expect a fine from the league for that gesture. And he'll also be suspended for SAFC's final road match next week. It was the second red card in the last four games for SAFC.
Moments after the red card, Cristian Martinez scored for Vegas to put the game away at 4-2. SAFC Captain Pecka shared his thoughts on the night. “We’re disappointed with ourselves for the result, because for us this was a final between two teams fighting to make the playoffs. There’s still a lot to play for and we won’t throw in the towel. We’re sad at the moment but we need to turn our focus to Portland because we have two matches left.”
Next up for San Antonio FC is their final road game of the season on Friday night against Portland Timbers II. After winning three of the first four in that series, San Antonio FC has lost two straight to Portland, including a 3-1 defeat at Toyota Field in March; one of only two teams who have won in San Antonio this season.
Lights FC: 1-0, Irvin Parra 8’
SAFC: 1-1, Brian Gomez (Rafa Castillo assist) 10’
Lights FC: 2-1, Preston Tabort Etaka 21’
Lights FC: 3-1, Irvin Parra (Kevin Garcia Lopez assist) 50’
SAFC: 3-2, Frank Lopez (penalty) 70’
Lights FC: 4-2, Cristian Martinez (Ferrety Sosa assist) 90’
Lights FC: Yellow Card (Irvin Parra) 19’
Lights FC: Yellow Card (Mobi Fehr) 34’
Lights FC: Yellow Card (Kevin Garcia Lopez) 78’
SAFC: Yellow Card (Eby Ackon) 89’
SAFC: Red Card (Frank Lopez) 90’
PHOTOS: DARREN ABATE / INSTAGRAM: @PEAKACTION
IMAGES: SAN ANTONIO FC TWITTER