San Antonio FC wraps up the 2019 regular season on Saturday night as they will host the Colorado Switchbacks in the season finale at Toyota Field. It’s all on the line for San Antonio FC thanks to a 4-3 road victory over Portland last week. Couple that with a dramatic 1-1 draw between Tacoma and New Mexico last night and San Antonio's path to the playoffs is crystal clear.
Win and they are in.
There are other scenarios that will get SAFC into the post season as well, but the bottom line is, if they beat the worst team in the league at home on Saturday, they will make the Post Season Tournament.
San Antonio FC, more or less out of necessity thanks to injuries and suspensions, turned back to Forward Ever Guzman last week and he delivered in a major way. In historic fashion, to be precise. All he did was notch the first ever SAFC hat trick. Not bad for a guy who hadn’t started in over three months and who hadn’t scored in over four.
Said Guzman of the performance, “It was an important win on the road that keeps us in the playoff race. We’re working hard and we have one game left, so hopefully we can get the results we need and keep playing at a high level to go into the playoffs.”
This creates a bit of a dilemma for Manager Darren Powell this week. Do you ride Guzman for one more game after a stunning performance, or do you go back to Frank Lopez who will once again be available post-red card suspension? It’s hard to ignore what Lopez has done for SAFC this season. 8 goals in only 13 appearances. Guzman also has 8 goals, but by comparison, he needed 24 appearances to get there.
Could Powell possibly dispatch both players? That seems less likely, but it’s possible. It will be a big decision for the Manager who’s SAFC future could potentially hinge on his team making the playoffs or not.
Said Manager Darren Powell, “We’ve been talking the last couple of weeks and every game at this point is like a playoff match. Saturday will be massive because currently we’re in a playoff spot and we want to secure that with our loud and loyal supporters in our own stadium.”
It has been nearly seven months since these two teams last met way back in March. That was SAFC’s first road game of the season. Little did we know at that time how poorly things would go for SAFC away from home in 2019. They would finish with only 3 road wins out of 17 games.
Colorado Switchbacks come into the match off a 2-0 loss to fellow bottom dweller Tacoma. The loss moved Colorado into last place in USL Championship West. They have long been eliminated from playoff contention. Somehow, they’ve been even worse than SAFC only the road, winning only one time in 16 games. Their goal differential is an abysmal negative 34. They have only scored 29 goals this season; the worst in the West by nine goals.
It has not been a good season for Colorado. Yet this team handed SAFC a 1-0 loss earlier this season, so nothing can be taken for granted.
Jordan Burt continues to lead Colorado offensively with 7 goals.Only two other players have more than four. Ismaila Jome leads the team with six assists.
Three keepers have been used this season, with Abraham Rodriguez and Andre Rawls each leading the way with 15 appearances. Clint Irwin has three. Rodriguez leads in saves with 49 but Rawls has the most clean sheets with 6. In fact, neither of the other two keepers has any clean sheets at all. Rodriguez has conceded the most goals with 35 goals scored on his watch; 12 more than Rawls.
Defender Abdul Rwatubyaye leads the back line with 99 clearances.
San Antonio FC needs to take care of business in this match. Colorado is basically done for the season before they even arrive in San Antonio. SAFC has everything to play for with a shot at post-season play still on the line. SAFC is strong at home with only two defeats in sixteen games. Colorado has one lone road win.
It's put up or shut up time for SAFC. If they are worthy of being a playoff team, they should win this game outright and not leave any other qualifying scenarios to chance.
The Matchup (W-D-L)
Colorado Switchbacks (7-5-21, 26 points) at San Antonio FC (12-8-13, 44 points)
Toyota Field, Saturday October 19th, 2019
Kickoff 7:30pm Central Time
Current Form (W-D-L)
San Antonio FC - 2019 Home Record 9-5-2
Colorado Switchbacks FC – 2019 Road Record 1-2-13
All Time History (W-D-L)
Saturday will mark the eighth league meeting between these two franchises (2-2-3). San Antonio won the 2018 series, but Colorado earned a win in the first meeting this year back in March. San Antonio also defeated Colorado in penalty kicks in Open Cup play in 2018. All time San Antonio is 3-2-3 in this series.
3/23/19 @ COL L, 1-0
10/19/19 @ SA
Colorado defeated San Antonio FC at Weidner Field on March 23rd 1-0 behind a goal in the 86’ from Jordan Schweitzer. It was a tough ending for a SAFC team that was out shot and out possessed in the match, yet they still looked like they would hang on for a road point. It wasn’t meant to be.
Here are the match highlights:
SAFC Wins If:
…if they do what they should do – beat a bad team who is bad on the road, playing at home where they have been very good, with a playoff spot on the line. Whatever happens between Guzman/Lopez, they need to deliver with goals. Restrepo needs to keep playing at a high level, especially with Parano possibly out. A third straight game with a goal from Gomez would not hurt. And the defense needs to survive, likely without Yaro in the middle once again.
San Antonio FC Forward Ever Guzman was named USL Championship Player of the Week on Tuesday for his hat trick performance against Portland last weekend. It is the second time that Guzman has been named USL Championship POTW in his career and the 6th selection for SAFC overall. Guzman last won the award in October 2017.
Fellow Midfielder Walter Restrepo was also named to the Team of the Week. Restrepo had two Assists in the win vs Portland.
PHOTOS: DARREN ABATE / INSTAGRAM: @PEAKACTION
IMAGES: SAN ANTONIO FC TWITTER