Fresh off a 3-0 victory in Seattle, San Antonio FC (1-0-0) have checked plenty of boxes off their list already. They’ve built a team from scratch in mere months, started the season with a win, and have basically sold out Toyota Field for the home opener.
But Swope Park Rangers (2-0-0), Sporting KC’s USL side, could play spoiler to the Texas team’s goal of winning their first home match. Swope is a good team with a massive attacking play style. Familiar face Kris Tyrpak returns to Toyota Field with his new club along with Dane Kelly, USL’s all-time leading scorer. SAFC is built with defense in mind, so this could be a true test of an unstoppable force vs. immovable object.
Or it could end in a 1-1 draw. Who really knows right?
Either way, April 9th has been the date circled on everyone’s calendar since the schedule was announced and the fans of San Antonio have shown there is a massive interest in the team.
Match Details: Game two. Toyota Field San Antonio, TX. Kickoff at 7:30pm Central
Key for SAFC: Teamwork on the attack while maintaining their strong defense. Its hard to complain about a 3-0 scoreline from last week, but two of those goals came off a discombobulated Seattle back line. Swope Park will be better than Seattle. Not only will they limit JJ’s ability to out-dribble the goalkeeper, but they will also capitalize on any chance the San Antonio defense gives them.
Player To Watch: The obvious answer is USL Team of the Week striker Jason Johnson. Will he be able to repeat his success against a stronger opponent? The less obvious is Fejiro Okiomah if he’s played as a midfielder / winger again. Brought into the club as a defender, the Austin native put one in the back of the net as a substitute in the midfield last week. Has Fejiro found a place away from the backline to showoff his athleticism?
Official SAFC Projected Starting XI: [this article will be updated when information is released]
(A note about projected starting XI’s is that they are mandated by USL to be included in the team-provided media guides. While a projection is required, sticking to that projection is not. We could see some changes when the time comes.)
Pitch Black Projected Starting XI (4-3-3): Ford (c); Palacios, McCarthy, McBride, Moseley; Reed, Alvarez, Castillo; Sanchez, Johnson, Cochrane
Why mess with what works right? I’m projecting the same starting XI that we saw in Seattle. We did see Palacios go down late with an injury, so if he does happen to be unavailable I would guess Max Gunderson would take his place. Sebastien Thuriere was used as a substitute late in the Seattle match, but was also coming off time spent with the Haiti National Team. Seba could see more time this match as an earlier sub or starter, though Fejiro has proven himself a suitable midfielder as well.
Score Prediction: San Antonio FC 1-1 Swope Park Rangers. I want to believe SAFC will come away with a win Saturday, but I think coming out with a draw is not only likely but a good outcome against such a strong team. The next two matches are against powerful Southern California duo Los Dos and OC Blues, so picking up a point (or hopefully three) at home is imperative.