After dismantling a Seattle Sounders 2 side 3-0 in Washington on Sunday night, San Antonio FC and its fans have every reason to celebrate. The decisive victory in the club’s inaugural match earned striker Jason Johnson Team of the Week honors, midfielder / defender Fejiro Okiomah a place on the Team of the Week Bench, and landed San Antonio FC in the top 10 of United Soccer League’s Power Rankings.
On the two goals in less than 10 minutes scored by Johnson, SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell remarked, “The start to the match was very positive. We started on the front foot and the ability to get a goal after two minutes I think relaxed the players, staff, and fans. And then to get the second one so quickly gave everyone a lot of confidence.”
But despite all the praise being given to the club’s performance, Powell and his squad are focused on the next challenge of facing Swope Park Rangers at Toyota Field on Saturday.
When asked about the accolades, Powell made sure to keep them in perspective of the club’s goal to win the league.
“I think as an organization the recognition is good in that people are talking about San Antonio. As far as rankings and individual awards, I think as a coach you look at that and know its very early. Its one game. There’s 29 to go…Nothing to celebrate yet. Swope Park Rangers are a good team. Its our home opener and we want to play well in our first game in front of the crowd at San Antonio.”
Swope Park, owned by and operated in the same city as MLS club Sporting Kansas City, ranked 2nd in the USL power rankings this week after starting their season 2-0-0. Their strong offensive play style has netted them 4 goals through 2 matches, second only to Los Angeles club Los Dos.
All eyes are on Powell and his team as the match vs. Swope Park will be SAFC’s home opener. While all USL games are live-streamed for free on YouTube, Saturday’s bout at Toyota Field will be the first chance for fans to see the team live in action as all of SAFC’s pre-season friendlies were media-only due to ongoing renovations at Toyota Field.
On the home opener, Powell expects the environment to be an exciting one.
“I think it will be a really good experience for everybody in the stands. I think it will help if the home fans are making some noise to inspire the guys for maybe that extra yard or extra one percent to help lead them to a victory. It will be special. I’m sure its going to be loud.”
“The support that the players and the staff have had since being in San Antonio has been overwhelming and phenomenal. I’m excited now that the supporters get to see the team in action and our job as a squad and as a staff is to make sure these guys give every ounce of effort for every single game and I’m sure that will lead to success.”
One thing that will help achieve Coach Powell’s vision of a loud stadium is that while this article was being written, San Antonio FC announced Toyota Field is sold out of seated tickets for Saturday’s match. That’s over 8,000 fans ready to see what Spurs Sports and Entertainment have created to help bring quality professional soccer to San Antonio on the way to being awarded an MLS bid.
San Antonio FC will kickoff against Swope Park Rangers at 7:30pm on Saturday April 9th at Toyota Field in Northeast San Antonio. Standing room only tickets are still available as of the time of this article being written. The match will also be streamed from USL’s YouTube channel and SanAntonioFC.com.