San Antonio FC (5-0-1, 15 points) defeated El Paso Locomotive (1-0-5, 3 points) by a score of 1-0 at Toyota Field on Saturday night. The lone goal was scored by San Antonio Forward Elliot Coller who now has 3 goals in his last 4 games. He also leads SAFC in Goals scored with three. San Antonio FC are now one point back of the top spot in the Western Conference standings.
The game represented the first Copa Tejas match of the season; the annual in-season tournament to determine the best USL team in Texas. San Antonio FC goes top of the Copa Tejas Table with the victory. It has been a rough start to the season for El Paso who are the Defending Copa Tejas Champions from 2021. They have now lost 5 of their first 6 games and were also upset in the Second Round of the US Open Cup, getting thumped by Central Valley Fuego 4-1.
Both San Antonio FC and the only other Copa Tejas participant in 2022, RGV-FC, have never won the Texas tournament which is now in its 3rd season. 2019 Winners Austin Bold FC are no longer in existence. Due to scheduling reasons, the first match of the year between SAFC and RGV-FC did not count in the Copa Tejas standings.
Collier talked about his well rounded approach to the game after the match. “Obviously being an attacking player l want to score goals but if I don’t do the defensive job I won’t be on the field. That’s a huge part of the SAFC way, everyone defends. We defend together, attack together, win together, lose together.”
San Antonio created all the big first half chances in the match as they struck the post twice in the opening half. In the sixth minute SAFC Defender Diedie Traore hit a volley from the top of the box that caught the left post. Two minutes later SAFC Midfielder Connor Maloney tried a tip in deflection that went just wide of the El Paso net. Then in the 11th minute, Collier would finally get a goal after all of those early quality chances. He made a move to his right to shake a Defender and then fired his shot into the top right corner of the net. El Paso Goal Keeper Evan Newton had no chance at the save.
After San Antonio Goal Keeper Jordan Farr made a highlight reel far side save in the 15th minute off a shot by El Paso's Harry Brockbank San Antonio would find the woodwork once more in the opening half. On a free kick in first half Added time, SAFC Defender Fabien Garcia would rip a shot that caught the same left side post as Tarore.
In the second half San Antonio Striker Santiago Patiño entered the match for the first time in 2022 after spending the first 5 games on the injured list. He had a breakaway chance to put away the game in the 90th minute but his shot attempt was well blocked by Newton. San Antonio would not need it as they hung on for the 1-0 win.
El Paso finished the game with 64% possession but San Antonio FC out shot them 15-6, with shots on target favoring San Antonio 7-1.
Next up for San Antonio FC is their Third Round US Open Cup match against Austin FC from MLS on Wednesday night. It will be the first time the two clubs have ever met in a competitve match, in what is sure to be a heated and bitter regional rivalry in the making. The match kicks off at 8pm.
In SAFC player news from the week, San Antonio FC added Midfielder Nicky Hernandez on loan for the season from FC Dallas in MLS. He was the 15th overall selection in the 2021 MLS Draft. He entered Saturday's game as a substitute in the second half. SAFC also parted ways with Forward Kekuta Manneh. Due to injury he had not seen the field for SAFC. Per Club policy, terms of his contract buyout were not disclosed.
Lastly, SAFC Defender Mitchell Taintor and GK Jordan Farr were both selected to the USL Championship Team of the Week for their respective performances against Orange County last week. San Antonio also won that match by the same 1-0 score.
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PHOTO: DARREN ABATE / INSTAGRAM: @PEAKACTION