San Antonio FC (8-6-5, 30 points) defeated Real Monarchs (4-4-12, 16 points) 3-2 at Toyota Field on Wednesday night. Jose Gallegos, Kortne Ford, and Marcus Epps all scored for SAFC in the victory. With the win, San Antonio has now won 3 games in a row and 4 of their last 5 overall. They also moved up to third place in the Mountain Division. SAFC trails second place Colorado by only 2 points and SAFC holds a game in hand. Real Monarchs are heading in the opposite direction. They are in last place in the divison and have lost 4 of their last 5 games.
San Antonio peppered the Monarchs with a whopping 16 Corners in the match, a staggering 12 of which occured in the first half. By contrast, the Monarchs only managed 1 Corner Kick in the entire game. Still, SAFC couldn't capatilize on their many scoring chances, only leading 1-0 at the break. The 16 Corners earned in the match for SAFC was a team record.
It was a historic night for San Antonio native Matt Cardone. The Keeper apperared in his 100th match for San Antonio FC. He is the second SAFC player to reach the milestone and he trails only Defender Greg Cochrane (102). Barring injury, Cardone will top the list before the end of the season. Cochrane delivered a congratulatry message to Cardone that was shown on the Toyota Field video board at Halftime.
Manager Alen Marcina noted after the match, “Matt is a great example for all aspiring players. His 100th game for the club is an incredible milestone and we are incredibly proud of him. It's back-to-back wins which is not easy to do in this conference.”
Gallegos got things going in the 27' when he took a Lema pass in the center of the Monarchs box, made a Defender miss with some fancy footwork and buried a shot into the right corner past Monarchs Keeper Blake Kelly for the 1-0 lead. It was the third goal of the year for Gallegos.
Monarchs Midfielder Ibrahim Bance got the Monarchs back into the game in the 57' when he hit a strike from distance outside of the SAFC box to beat Cardone into the lower left netting equalizing the match at 1-1. Kortne Ford would break the tie in the 75' when he was the beneficiary of a bouncing ball in the Monarchs box that landed at his feet. He ripped his chance without hesitation and SAFC was back ahead 2-1. It was the first goal in a San Antonio uniform for Ford who is on loan from Colorado in MLS and appearing in just his second match with San Antonio.
4 minutes later Epps found a breakaway chance and despite his shot getting blocked by a Monarchs Defender, it still had enough velocity on it to take a high bounce and into the Monarchs goal for the commanding 3-1 lead. It was the 4th goal of the year for Epps which ties him with Justin Dhillon for third on the team. Epps has now scored in back to back games.
The Monarchs would score a SAFC own-goal on the last kick of the game from a set piece to tighten the final scoreline, but the match was well in San Antonio's control by that point.
Next up for San Antonio FC is the third and final game of their current three match home stand when they will host Eastern foes Pittsbugh Riverhounds SC for the first ever meeting between the two clubs. Pittsburgh are currently in second place in the Atlantic Division. After Saturday, SAFC will play four straight road games.
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PHOTO: DARREN ABATE / INSTAGRAM: @PEAKACTION