Image: Steve Aibel, Pitch Black News / Little Orca Sports
Between the podcast and other articles I’m running out of ways to point out that SAFC is playing OKC Energy and RGV a lot in a short span. So, you know, lets all just pretend I had some clever introduction to this thing.
This week, OKC Energy FC (1-1-4) come to town to face San Antonio FC (2-2-3) at Toyota Field. This marks the 2nd time in 7 days the two clubs will play with the last bout ending in a somewhat controversial 1-1 draw as the one goal that OKC scored appeared to be offside. OKC Forward Danni König made the lone goal for OKC last week and will likely be the main attacking threat as the Energy make their case at Toyota Field.
The USL West table is congested, but OKC sits in 14th while San Antonio is in 10th. SAFC is the only team below 4th place with a positive goal differential (+2). What that says to me is that San Antonio is getting punished for the mistakes that they make more often than other clubs. The team has only recorded one clean sheet this season, but has never given up more than one goal in a match with captain Josh Ford in goal.
If San Antonio FC can start catching some breaks, its entirely possible to catapult up into the top 5 of the West. All that really matters when it comes to a title race though is securing a top 8 spot to move into the playoffs. Winning games at home is the best way to start moving in that direction.
Carlos Alvarez attacks at Toyota Field
Match Details: Game nine. Toyota Field. San Antonio, TX Sat. 5/20/2016. Kickoff at 7:30pm Central
Keys for SAFC: Well, kicking the doors down in the first 30 minutes of the match has worked pretty well this season. Lets go with “starting on the right foot” as the key to success, because when SAFC has come out of the gate at full tempo, good things have happened.
The real key though is something that no one can control: getting some good bounces. The stats make a great argument that SAFC has really have some bad luck this year, and that’s bound to change eventually.
Player To Watch: While rookie Jacques Francois impressed against Corinthians FC, another rookie has been having an equally good season under the radar. My player to watch this week is holding midfielder Miguel Salazar. With Sebastien Thuriere away for international duty and Michael Reed coming off a lingering injury, the rookie midfielder is likely to get another start next to veteran Rafa Castillo. Salazar has done his part to hold down the fort this season and I don’t expect that to change against OKC.
Pitch Black Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Ford (c); Palacios, McCarthy, McBride, Moseley; Salazar, Castillo; Johnson, Alvarez, Cochrane; Chin
Francois impressed without a doubt in his debut, but I think Shawn Chin has been pretty solid in league play and will likely get the initial nod on Saturday. That being said, with such a congested schedule I would imagine we’ll see all 5 subs used to help keep guys fresh for RGV on Wednesday.
Score Prediction: San Antonio FC 2-1 OKC Energy At home against a club that is struggling this year I expect SAFC to get three points. You have to win at home and you have to beat teams that are struggling. Barring a major loan from FC Dallas, I would be pretty shocked to see the home club drop points.