Mohammed Abu scored his first Goal in a San Antonio FC uniform and Jordan Farr saved a Penalty Kick at the death of the match in second half added time to give San Antonio FC (2-1-0, 7 points) a dramatic 1-0 win over Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC (1-1-1, 4 points) on Saturday night at Toyota Field in front of a sell-out crowd of 7,938 fans; the 6th straight sellout dating back to last season.
The game was a rematch of last year's Western Conference Final which San Antonio FC won 2-0. SAFC proved they are still a thorn in the side of a tough Colorado team. The win moves San Antonio FC to the top of the Western Table in the early going of the season.
San Antonio FC continues to fight through early season adversity. Seven players missed the game for reasons ranging from injury to personal to an International Call Up. San Antonio essentially played the match with only 12 professional players, with the rest of the bench filled out by SAFC Academy players. It has been a common secene in the opening month of the season that has seen the defending Champions earn 7 of 9 possible points to start the season.
Noted SAFC Manager Alen Marcina, "Incredibly proud of the collective. What people maybe fail to see is we had seven guys out. Each game we’ve had barely any bodies. We’ve never allowed it to be an excuse. We’ve played with the same mentality, and that’s why I’m so proud of them. We earned the three points, scored a deserving goal – I thought we should’ve had a couple more goals. And obviously to concede a PK so late, a bit unfortunate but Jordan came up big for us. So all in all, very very pleased. Seven points in three games, with 10, 11 12 field-player bodies is impressive.”
SAFC Defender Shannon Gomez was one of the players who missed the match. On Tuesday he was called up to the Trinidad & Tobago National Team ahead of CONCACAF Nations League matches. Gomez has made six caps with his national team, including four Nations League matches last year. In a 2-0 win over St. Vincent last June, Gomez tallied the first assist of his international career. Through two matches this season, Gomez had been as reliable as they come, playing every minute of the first two SAFC games.
Abu finally broke the scoreless deadlock in the 83'. Defender Zico Bailey, a 25-day signee for SAFC added to the team just nine days ago, fired off a shot from the top of the box that was blocked by a Colorado Defender. The ball popped into the air to a wide open Abu who was able to head the ball past Colorado's Keeper Christian Herrera who was off his line. The Goal would be all San Antonio FC needed thanks to the late match heroics.
Abu commented on his thought process of even being in that position to score the Goal. "It’s a little bit different because … sometimes I try to gamble, and go forward because we need a goal so I thought ‘let me gamble, maybe I can score or I can give an assist [sic].’ So sometimes I just gamble, if it happens fine if it doesn’t you know I did something. Throughout my career, I used to play a little bit upfront sometimes, so it’s not like a new thing to me. I try to adjust to how the game is going.”
In the 5th minute of second half added time Colorado earned a Penalty Kick thanks to a SAFC hand ball in the box. That set up Farr's heriocs to end the game with his dramatic save on the attempt by Colorado Midfielder Zach Zandi.
Said Farr, "You just want those [moments] to last longer. … we had one with Austin last year too where it’s just like, you just want it to last so long. And it’s emotional to think about because as an athlete, you don’t get many moments like that. … For me it’s when the teammates really come on top of you … the fans are wonderful, don’t get me wrong, but when your teammates have that much adoration in that moment – they see it every day. They see your struggles, they know you as a person they see how much you’ve worked for something and so when things go right to see them come together, that’s what takes the cake. Hopefully we have more moments like that, not as dramatic.”
Next up for San Antonio FC is a road game against Monterey Bay FC next Saturday night. SAFC will return home on Tuesday April 4th for a Second Round US Open Cup match against Club De Lyon, a Florida based NISA team. That match will kick off at 7:30pm.
SAFC: 1-0, Mohammed Abu 83’
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PHOTO - DARREN ABATE / INSTAGRAM: @PEAKACTION