San Antonio FC wraps up their regular season road schedule as they will play the penultimate match of their season in Portland this Friday night. It has been a long time since these two teams have played each other – nearly 7 months. SAFC lost that game 3-1; one of only two home defeats this season. The SAFC roster looks very different today than it did then and you can bet Portland can claim the same.
Portland Timbers II is playing their final home game of the season against SAFC. Ironically enough, they’ll be traveling back to Texas after the match just like SAFC, as the Timber’s final two road games will take them to El Paso and RGV – a Texas trio of games to close out their 2019 schedule.
SAFC limps into this match after suffering their 11th road defeat of the season last week. An ugly 4-2 loss to Las Vegas that saw star Forward Frank Lopez get red carded. Consequently, he will not be involved in this game. And after leaving the field waiving an obscene gesture to fans, it’s fair to wonder if he’ll ever play for SAFC again, this year or otherwise.
The loss was San Antonio’s 4th on the road in their last 5 tries. In that span they have surrendered four or more goals three times. It has been a poor season on the road for SAFC all year long, but their road form is spiraling downward as the season nears its conclusion.
Said SAFC Captain Pecka of their current situation, “We need to put the pieces together and work as a unit and work hard. When we play together we’re a different team than when we play individually, so we need to maintain that. We have two crucial matches left and we all want to be in the playoffs, so we’ll do what we can so that this group and this club is in the playoffs, and our work starts immediately.”
SAFC will get Midfielder Walter Restrepo back after being suspended for card accumulation against Las Vegas. Prior to the suspension, he had been one of SAFC’s best players in recent weeks. It could be a big plot point for this game as to whether he can pick up right where he left off or not. SAFC’s season may depend on Restrepo having another strong outing.
On Defense, SAFC could be without Joshua Yaro who has started every game for SAFC this season, and up until the final 10 minutes against Las Vegas, had played every single minute of the season. He was forced to leave that game with an injury. His status for this weekend is unknown as of press time. If he can’t play, it will be one more blow to a team trying to hold it together and secure a playoff birth. With Yaro being subbed off last week, Defender Kai Greene is now the only SAFC player who has played every league minute this season. Greene has already set the team record for most minutes played in a single season with two games still to play.
As you would expect with a “2” team whose main end game is to prep the senior MLS team, their roster is always changing. As such, only nine players have appeared in more than 20 games for Timbers II this season. Like San Antonio, Portland is fading late in the season. They come into this game having lost 4 of their last 5 overall.
PT2 is lead by Dairon Asprilla with nine Goals on the year but three other players have seven Goals, so they have demonstrated a balanced attack. Eryk Williamson leads the team in Assists with eight.
In goal, Portland has rotated between Jake Leeker (15 appearances) Aljaz Ivacic (11 appearances) and Kendall McIntosh (5 appearances). There are only two clean sheets total between the trio. Adrian Diz Pe has been their best Defender, leading the Timbers with 89 clearances in 19 total appearances.
It’s desperation time for San Antonio FC. Anything short of two wins in their final two games will likely leave them out of the playoffs for the third time in four seasons. And even two wins may not be enough to get them in, depending on other results around the league.
Manager Darren Powell knows the situation as this game approaches. “The league has been very tight and competitive all year long. Every single game is extremely important and it’s a matter of making sure you execute in key moments to earn as many points as possible. That’s certainly something we’ve learned over the course of the season and we continue to learn and make things better for Friday’s match.”
The only questions remaining for SAFC now … Can they win two games, and will that be enough to secure a playoff birth? They may find that it's already too late.
The Matchup (W-D-L)
San Antonio FC (11-8-13, 41 points) at Portland Timbers II (10-8-13, 38 points)
Providence Park, Friday October 11th, 2019
Kickoff 9:00pm Central Time
Current Form (W-D-L)
San Antonio FC - 2019 Road Record 2-3-11
Portland Timbers 2 – 2019 Home Record 5-4-7
All Time History (W-D-L)
Friday will mark the seventh meeting between these two franchises. The two teams split their two 2018 meetings with each team earning a 2-1 victory on their home field. Portland has won two straight games in the series. All time San Antonio leads the series 3-1-2.
3/16/19 @ SA , L 1-3
10/11/19 @ PT2
Portland defeated San Antonio 3-1 on March 16th at Toyota Field. It is one of only two league losses at home for SAFC this season. Marvin Loria had a brace to lead the visitors. Jack Barmby scored a first half penalty for SAFC.
Here are the match highlights:
SAFC Wins If :
…if they can finish their dismal 2019 road schedule on a high note. They’ll have to do it without their leading scorer who is on suspension. Can Restrepo, Barmby, Parano, Gomez, and Castillo provide enough offense to steal one more road win?
PHOTOS: DARREN ABATE / INSTAGRAM: @PEAKACTION
IMAGES: SAN ANTONIO FC TWITTER