San Antonio FC begins their final road trip of the regular season on Saturday night when they travel to play FC Tulsa at ONEOK Field for the second time this year. It will be the third and final meeting between the two sides in the regular season.
San Antonio comes into this game after playing the other Oklahoma team, OKC Energy, over the weekend. San Antonio FC made it three for three over the Energy in 2020, plus put the finishing touches on an unbeaten regular season at home, by defeating them 2-0 last weekend.
SAFC got a brace from recent loanee Jordan Perruzza, his first goals for San Antonio, to earn the victory.
Perruzza spoke after the win, "The short time I’ve been here I’ve already started to gel with the players. They have been treating me well in training. It’s a good group of guys ever since I got here. I love playing in front of the home fans, they just give you that extra boost you need especially late in games. We use all the energy and push forward, and it helps us score.”
San Antonio FC will try and secure home field advantage throughout the playoffs over these final two regular season games. Coming into this weekend San Antonio is the best team in USL Championship. They are 2 points ahead of Reno, their closest competitor in the West. Although Reno still has one game in hand. And they are two points ahead of Pittsburgh, the best team in the East.
At worst, San Antonio FC is in good position to host at least two home games in the playoffs if they can close out the season strong and if they can advance in the postseason.
SAFC added two reinforcements last week to help that cause. One is a very familiar face as the team welcomed back Ethan Bryant. He returns from a stint with KSV Roeselare in the Belgium second division. “I’m super excited to be back,” said Bryant. “Obviously the team has been doing really well, so I’m just happy the staff and the whole club has the faith in me. I’m going to do whatever I can to help the team.”
The second addition is a new face, but one that arrives with a ton of USL Championship experience; Defender Liam Doyle who was previously with Memphis 901 FC. Doyle appeared in eight matches for Memphis this season, recording 42 clearances, nine interceptions and six blocks. He previously helped lead the Swope Park Rangers to the 2017 USL Championship and has 115 league appearances overall.
For FC Tulsa this is the first of three straight home games to close their regular season. Last week they were supposed to play their final road game of the season at RGV-FC, but the match was postponed due to Covid related precautions. As such, Tulsa hasn’t played a match since September 12th.
Tulsa is unbeaten in their last four games and they still have it all to play for as they try and secure the final playoff spot from Group D. They trail Austin by two points with 4 games to play, and they have one game in hand on the Bold.
Tulsa has only lost once at home this season in 5 games, including a tough match against SAFC that ended 0-0 back in August.
Dario Suarez is far and away the goal scoring leader for Tulsa with eight. Ariel Martinez is the Assist leader with three and he also leads in Chances Created with seventeen.
Sean Lewis has been the man in goal all season with 40 saves in 12 appearances. He has two clean sheets with 14 goals conceded.
Bradley Bourgeois is the Defensive leader with 42 clearances, adding eight blocks and sixteen interceptions.
Manager Alen Marcina talked about team goals after the OKC match. “I’m proud of the guys, I’m proud that we remained undefeated in the regular season at home. We wanted to put our best foot forward and compete and try to remain undefeated at home in the regular season. We’ve achieved that objective, but we will continue to take it one game at a time and keep improving, learning and progressing as a team.”
The next progression is home field advantage. Adding another road win would go a long way towards meeting that expectation.
The Matchup (W-D-L)
San Antonio FC (10-3-1, 33 points)
at FC Tulsa (3-7-2, 16 points)
ONEOK Field, Saturday September 26, 2020
Kickoff 7:00pm Central Time
Current Form (W-D-L)
San Antonio FC - 2020 Road Record (3-2-1)
FC Tulsa – 2020 Home Record (1-3-1)
All Time History (W-D-L)
Saturday will mark the 14th all-time meeting between the two clubs including one meeting in the Open Cup and once in USL Playoffs. This will be their third meeting as FC Tulsa.
As the Roughnecks, San Antonio finished 5-2-2 against Tulsa in league play and 6-2-3 against the Roughnecks in all competitions, including the only playoff win in Club History; a 2-1 victory at Toyota Field in October 2017.
SAFC are 1-1-0 against the newly rebranded FC Tulsa. Their all-time record against Tulsa is 7-3-3.
8/12/20 @ TUL DRAW, 0-0
8/22/20 @ SA W 2-0
9/26/20 @ TUL
San Antonio defeated FC Tulsa 2-0 at Toyota Field last month behind goals from Solignac and Bailone.
Here are the match highlights:
SAFC Wins If :
…if they don’t take their foot off the gas. It’s going to be a tough environment for SAFC as evidenced by the 0-0 draw between these two teams on this same ground 6 weeks ago. And with a playoff spot wrapped up it might be tempting for SAFC to peek ahead at what’s next or let their intensity drop. It’s only human nature, after all. Add to that, Tulsa is still clawing for a playoff spot. With a chance at home field still within their reach, the hope is that SAFC are still hearing Marcina’s message and translating it to on-field execution.
IMAGES: SAN ANTONIO FC TWITTER, FC TULSA TWITTER
PHOTOS: DARREN ABATE, INSTAGRAM: @PEAKACTION