San Antonio FC (1-0-0, 3 points) began their 2021 season by defeating Colorado Switchbacks FC (0-0-1, 0 points) 3-0 on opening night at Toyota Field. SAFC got a hat trick from Forward Santiago Patino in his debut game for SAFC. PC Giro and Chris Lema recorded one Assist each in the victory. And Goal Keeper Matthew Cardone notched his 20th clean sheet in SAFC history, adding to his all time team leading total. San Antonio FC remain unbeaten in all six home openers in team history.
“Its been a long time since we had fans in the building, so its an emotional night for everyone,” said SAFC Head Coach Alen Marcina. “This is three points that we earned and deserved, and we did it for our fans. I am incredibly pleased with the level of commitment. We asked the players to be focused, apply intensity and be resilient for 90-plus minutes and that’s what they did so I am incredibly proud of them.”
Things got started quickly for SAFC when a cross from Marcus Epps in the 16' was tapped into the area at the near post by Colorado Keeper Abrham Rodroguez and Patino was in perfect position to pounce on the rebound, driving his header into the lower left corner of the goal to open the scoring.
Twelve minutes later in the 28', PC delivered a beautiful pass into the box from a distant left wing position which found Patino perfectly in front of the Coloroado goal. He put his shot into the net and just like that the new star Forward had a brace and SAFC had a 2-0 lead.
Patino and SAFC would leave no doubt about the match outcome in the 87' when Chris Lema delivered another perfect pass from the wing, this time on a fast break. It found Patino in stride near the top of the box and the talented striker did the rest, scoring his third goal of the night and securing the 3-0 victory for San Antonio FC. Not bad for a debut. The hat trick was only the second in team history (Guzman, 2019).
Said Patino after the match, "It was a great feeling. As a team we have been working very hard for eight weeks. The coaching staff has done a great job to make sure we have the right mentality to attack the games and win. As a team, we did that today. We left everything on the field, and it was great to score.”
Several newcomers contributed to the win for San Antonio FC. Defender Sam Gleadle (along with second year Midfielder PC) led the team in tackles (five each) while Mathieu Deplagne led the club in interceptions (five) and Jasser Khmiri led in clearances (three).
The only bit of sour news for SAFC on the night was Defender Axel Sjoberg, who had to leave the game in the 20' due to a lower body injury. As of this writing there has been no official update on his condition.
Next up for San Antonio FC is another home match as they host the last team crowned Champions of USL, Real Monarchs, next Satutrday night at Toyota Field. It will be the first match of the season for Real Monarchs.
SAFC: 1-0, Santiago Patino 16’
SAFC: 2-0, Santiago Patino (PC assist) 28’
SAFC: 3-0, Santiago Patino (Chris Lema) 87’
SAFC: Yellow Card (Santiago Patino) 24’
COS: Yellow Card (Jimmy Ockford) 38’
COS: Yellow Card (Jose Torres) 70’
Attendance: 3,768 (socially distant)
IMAGES: SAN ANTONIO FC TWITTER
PHOTO: DARREN ABATE / INSTAGRAM @PEAKACTION