San Antonio FC (11-1-7), fresh off their first win and clean sheet in over a month, will host Orange County SC (7-5-4) on Saturday night for the first time since the California club rebranded from Orange County Blues FC prior to the 2017 season.
After three straight draws in United Soccer League play, SAFC finally bagged all three points again on July 29, winning 1-0 away to Phoenix Rising FC and their star-studded attack. Forward Cesar Elizondo drew a somewhat controversial penalty kick within the last ten minutes of the match and midfielder Rafa Castillo buried it for the game’s only goal. Despite being tested a number of times by Phoenix, SAFC’s defense kept a clean sheet for the first time since June 10.
Orange County will be playing their sixth match in three weeks, most recently losing 1-0 to Los Angeles Galaxy II on Wednesday. However, that LA goal was the only one Orange County has conceded in their last three matches, meaning SAFC’s offense won’t have it easy on Saturday. In addition, Orange County had gone seven matches without losing before Wednesday.
However, SAFC bolstered their offense on Friday, announcing the signing of Ever Guzman, a Mexican-American forward who played and scored for Mexico at the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Championship and had been under contract with Monarcas Morelia since 2004. Since 2009, Guzman has been sent to a number of Mexican clubs on loan.
Game Twenty. San Antonio, TX. 8/5/2017. Kickoff 7:30pm CDT
How to Watch: USL Match Center, USLSoccer.com
Keys for SAFC: SAFC’s defense has been the foundation of their success this season and after a slide by their standards, they’re back in the business of clean sheets after the match against Phoenix. With the offense starting to look on the up again as well, SAFC is almost assured three points if they can score, and Orange County has shown the capacity to concede three or four goals, sometimes without an answer.
Player to Watch: Missing a couple months due to injury, during which the SAFC offense wasn’t always clicking without him, SAFC forward Cesar Elizondo has come off the bench the last two matches and drew the match-winning penalty kick in the most recent. While he may not be ready to start yet, Elizondo’s return is a promising sign as SAFC enters the final third of their season.
Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Restrepo; Newnam, Ibeagha, McCarthy, Cochrane; Castillo, Reed; Tyrpak, Vega, Forbes; Ajeakwa
Kyle Mahnke: SAFC 3 – 0 OCSC
Jonathan Check: SAFC 2 – 0 OCSC
Jose Mario Jimenez: SAFC 2 – 1 OCSC
Jesus Miguel Garcia: SAFC 2 – 0 OCSC