This week San Antonio FC (9-0-4, 31pts) faces the club that denied them the opportunity to play FC Dallas in the US Open Cup, Tulsa Roughnecks FC (5-6-0, 15pts).
The basement club of 2016, Tulsa started out the 2017 season with a bang by winning 5 of their first 7 games. It would have been 6 of 7, but Tulsa was forced to retroactively forfeit their season opener against Colorado Springs Switchbacks. The Oklahoma club’s form has been less impressive of late, losing 3 of their last 4 league matches.
SAFC is just over 90 minutes away from matching the longest consecutive shutout streak in USL history, a title currently held by rival RGV FC. While the defense has been stout, the attack hasn’t been as effective. San Antonio hasn’t conceded a goal in USL play since April 25th, but haven’t banked their own in USL play since May 26th.
Striker Cesar Elizondo found his way back onto the injury report last week in OKC, so it is likely we’ll see AJ Ajeakwa or Aly Hasson as the number 9 against Tulsa. One certainty is that defender Stephen McCarthy will miss the match due to accumulation of yellow cards.
On its own, two consecutive matches of 0-0 draws aren’t reason to hit the panic button. The restlessness may stem from fans being reminded of the attacking struggle in 2016, or getting too used to the league-dominating start to the 2017 season. But with a defense playing at this level, one goal could be the difference-maker moving San Antonio FC back into the top spot in the West.
Game Fourteen. San Antonio, TX. 6/17/2017. Kickoff 7:30 CDT
How to Watch: Fox Sports Southwest, SanAntonioFC.com, USL Match Center
Keys for SAFC: Just in case the horse hasn’t passed on to the next life, the team needs to find a away to generate goals. The “front 4” of (as projected) Hassan, Forbes, Castillo, and Tyrpak have to find success working together in the final third. The squad has been defensively perfect, so even one goal could be the difference.
Player to Watch: In a match where one goal could net 3 points, the number 9, be it Elizondo, Ajeakwa, Hassan, Araujo, or someone else, has the potential to be the difference for SAFC.
Pitch Black News Projected Starting XI (4-5-1): Restrepo; Newnam, Ibeagha, Hedrick, Cochrane; Tyrpak, Reed, Castillo, Pecka, Forbes; Hassan
Kyle Mahnke SAFC 2-0 Tulsa
Jonathan Check SAFC 1-0 Tulsa
Jose Mario Jimenez SAFC 2-0 Tulsa
Aaron Marvel SAFC 1-0 Tulsa
Jesus Miguel Garcia SAFC 1-0 Tulsa