San Antonio FC (10-1-4, 34pts) head West to face Sacramento Republic FC (7-6-3, 24pts) this week in a battle between two likely-playoff clubs. The last time the teams met they played to a 1-0 San Antonio FC victory at Toyota Field where a successful Rafa Castillo penalty kick was the difference.
San Antonio continues to sit in second place in the USL Western Conference, three points behind Real Monarchs Salt Lake City and a comfortable eight points above third place Swope Park Rangers. Sacramento is currently in fourth place, two points behind Swope Park and ten points behind San Antonio.
San Antonio will be without goalkeeper Diego Restrepo who is serving a one game suspension. The league-leading golden glove candidate committed a professional foul late in San Antonio’s loss in Colorado Springs, earning a straight red card.
Lee Johnston is expected to start between the pipes for the Texas club, but who will be his backup is a small mystery. Obviously San Antonio hopes that their starter will go the full 90 minutes, but Johnston’s entrance to last week’s match means that every goalkeeper SAFC has ever had on the roster has made an official league appearance. Matt Cardone has been injured since April and is extremely unlikely to play, but could possibly serve as the backup in an emergency.
Sacramento has been on a roller coaster of a season. After some early struggles that include giving Portland Timbers 2 their only win of the season to date, Sacramento has been victorious in their last three matches. Those three wins have come from 11 goals, including a 6-2 routing of Rio Grande Valley FC. Preseason signing Sammy Ochoa and Trevin Caesar lead the club with 5 goals each. Impressively, Caesar has achieved that tally while only playing 607 minutes this season.
Image: Darren Abate / USL
Game Sixteen. Sacramento, CA. 7/1/2017. Kickoff 10:00 CDT
How to Watch: Fox Sports Southwest, SanAntonioFC.com, USL Match Center
Keys for SAFC: Sacramento has been on an absolute tear for the last few weeks. Not counting their Open Cup loss to LA Galaxy, they’ve dismantled every defense they’ve faced for the last three matches. Not only does the SA defense need to be as successful as they have been most of the season, the attack needs to generate at least one goal or risk falling closer to the pack behind them on the Western Conference table.
Player to Watch: Devin Vega has been a spark for the San Antonio attack each time he’s come off the bench. If “the kid” sees time he could be a difference maker in the final third.
Pitch Black News Projected Starting XI (4-5-1): Johnston; Newnam, Ibeagha, Hedrick, Cochrane; Tyrpak, Reed, Vega, O’Ojong, Forbes; Ajeakwa
Kyle Mahnke SAFC 1-1 SAC
Jonathan Check SAFC 1-1 SAC
Jose Mario Jimenez SAFC 2-0 SAC
Aaron Marvel SAFC 1-2 SAC
Jesus Miguel Garcia SAFC – SAC