MATCH RECAP: San Antonio FC Clinches Home Playoff Game With 3-0 Victory


San Antonio FC (14-8-10, 52 points) closed out their regular season with a 3-0 victory over Colorado Switchbacks (13-8-11, 49 points) on Saturday night at Toyota Field. With the result San Antonio FC finished in second place in the Mountain Division will be home to start the playoffs. They'll play host to either San Diego or Orange County on Friday night at 8pm. Midfielder Jose Gallegos and Defender Kortne Ford scored for SAFC. They also added a Colorado own-goal in the win. It was the 7th goal of the season for Gallegos who is tied with Justin Dhillon for second on the team. Ford scored his 4th goal of the year.

SAFC are now unbeaten in five straight matches against Colorado, including all four regular season games in 2021, where SAFC won three times and tied once. Those head to head meetings were the difference between second place in the Division and a home Playoff game and third place and a road Playoff game. Pretty big.

“Colorado Springs and us both had a lot to play for tonight, and they are a very good team,” said SAFC Head Coach Alen Marcina. “They made it very challenging, credit to them. They were excellent all season long. But at the same time, I am incredibly proud of the collective. It was a total team effort from start to finish. We earned those three points. I’m so happy for our fans that we play for. We have the opportunity to host the first round in the playoffs and we are so excited for that.”

San Antonio FC will be appearing in their second straight post-season birth for the first time in Club history. Overall it will be SAFC's third trip to the post-season and their fourth playoff game. SAFC has yet to play a road playoff game in their history and they've experienced mixed results at Toyota Field. They earned their only playoff win at home in 2017 with a 2-1 vcitory over Tulsa Roughnecks. They have home defeats in 2017 (OKC Energy) and in 2020 (New Mexico United).

If SAFC end up hosting San Diego Loyal that will make for an interesting match-up for a couple of reasons. One, the two teams have never played previously. Meeting up in the Playoffs is one heck of a way to open the series. Secondly, beacuse of who their Manager is. Maybe you've heard of him. He's the most decorated soccer player in US Men's history, Landon Donovan. It makes for a very attractive opening playoff game and a huge opportunity for SAFC on a big stage. If, however, Orange County is their opponent, it will be the first meeting between those two Clubs since 2019 when they played to two 0-0 draws. The two teams have never met in the post-season.

The only downer on the evening was that SAFC Goal Keeper Matt Cardone had to leave the match in the 62nd minute due to injury. Cardone was 30 minutes shy of playing the entire USL Championship Regular Season, but had to be subbed off for the first time all year. It was the first League apparance of the season for backup Keeper Carlos Mercado who saw out the final thirty minutes and the clean sheet mostly trouble free, although the Switchbacks did rattle the crossbar on a free kick deep in San Antonio territory.

Mercado did appear twice for SAFC this season in two Friendly matches in July against Liga MX opponents, surrendering 4 goals in each of the two games against stronger competition.

With only 6 days for Cardone to recover, San Antonio FC could very possibly have to turn their Goal Keeping duties over to Mercado to start the post-season.

After getting an own goal in the 5th minute, SAFC doubled their lead when Gallegos finished off a fast break with a chip past Colorado Keeper Sean Melvin to kick start the second half in the 46th minute. Kortne Ford put an exclaimation point on the game with his 68th minute header to make it 3-0 and put the game out of reach for San Antonio. With the strong performance SAFC made sure that Colorado, who played playoff spoliers in the regular season finale against San Antonio in 2019, would not do so a second time.

Next up for San Antonio FC is the USL Championship Playoffs. After a six month regular season and 32 regular season matches, it all comes down to this for SAFC. They will look for their first playoff win in four years on Friday night at 8pm.

IMAGES: SAN ANTONIO FC TWITTER

PHOTO: DARREN ABATE / INSTAGRAM: @PEAKACTION


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