It was a historic night for San Antonio FC as they captured their first trophy in Club history on Saturday at Southwest University Park. SAFC (15-1-3, 46 points) defeated El Paso Locomotive (9-6-8, 33 points) by a score of 1-0 to clinch the Copa Tejas Trophy as the best Team in Texas. It was fitting for SAFC to clinch the trophy in El Paso as they were the defending Copa Tejas Winners from 2021. SAFC are the third different Copa Tejas Winner in USL Championship play as no team has won the competition twice. They join El Paso and the defunct Austin Bold as the only Clubs to earn the trophy in the four-year-old competition. No Trophy was awarded in 2020 due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Santiago Patiño was the hero, scoring the game's only goal in the 48'. Patiño has scored in three straight games, notching four total goals in that timeframe. He is now second on the team in Goals scored with five.
The winning Goal was Assisted by SAFC Forward Justin Dhillon. That marks his 5th Assist of the year which ties him for the team lead along with PC. Dhillon has one Goal and three Assists over his last four games.
SAFC were out possessed 67% - 33% in the match but El Paso only managed one shot on target with all that possession. A testimony to the suffocating Defense of SAFC. San Antonio finsihed with five shots on target but most importantly, came away with the only Goal of the match and the victory.
Said SAFC Manager Alen Marcina after the win, “Incredibly proud of the team, to win the clubs first trophy. That will be an experience that our guys will remember. This is a special trophy because its created by the fans. It’s why we play the game, we play it for the fans. It’s exciting to earn the three points, and also to get to bring the cup home with us.”
SAFC has dominated the Copa Tejas competition winning all three of their games thus far and capturing the trophy with one game still to play. SAFC also won an extra game vs RGV-FC in March, a 2-1 win that did not count in the Copa standings due to an odd number of scheduled games this season. Any way you slice it, SAFC has been perfect against their Texas competition in 2022.
SAFC even has a win over the MLS Copa Tejas Winners, Austin FC. They defeated their MLS neighbors in the US Open Cup in April by a memorable 2-1 score. As such, SAFC's 2.39 points per game has the Club in the lead for the Copa Tejas Shield as well, which is awarded to the Texas-based USL Championship, MLS or NWSL team with the highest points-per game total. Truly the best team in Texas.
Overall San Antonio FC has now won five straight games as they remain in first place in USL West. Their lead is now up to six points and they have two games in hand on second place Colorado. They are well in the driver's seat to capture Home Field Advantage throughout the USL Cup Playoffs.
SAFC has also won three straight road games. The road warriors have only lost twice away from home through eleven games over the entire season.
Noted Justin Dhillon, “That’s a championship performance tonight. There was a trophy on the line, it’s not easy to come here, the had a long unbeaten streak at home. For us to come out and play the way we did, with so much grit, so much energy, so much fight, and to come out with three points I think shows that this group is something special. We talk about the mentality all the time and it showed once again tonight.”
Next up for San Antonio FC is a return home to face Los Angeles Galaxy II on Saturday night at Toyota Field. SAFC defeated LA II by a score of 2-1 in Southern California back in March. The match kicks off at 8pm.
Full Match Highlights from SAFC vs El Paso are below.
IMAGES and PHOTO: SAN ANTONIO FC TWITTER