San Antonio FC currently holds second place in the USL Western Conference standings, has the best defense in the league, and is among the top performers in attendance among second-division clubs. Still, the second-year club has improved its roster by bringing in four new players for their last few 2017 matches.
Image: Darren Abate / USL
Forwards Ever Guzman, Omar Gordon and Mike Seth headline the attacking-minded signings while Midfielder Connor Presley looks to be a box to box player. Guzman, Seth, and Presley were signed to deals with the Texas club while Gordon is on loan from Montego Bay United for the rest of the 2017 season.
Three of the signings contributed to the club’s most recent match, a 1-0 victory over Vancouver Whitecaps 2 on Wednesday August 23rd. Gordon started on the left side that has been the space claimed by Billy Forbes for most of the season. Forbes got his first start as a center forward with SAFC. Presley replaced Kris Tyrpak on the right side in the 70th minute while Seth joined in the 77th minute replacing Gordon.
Ever Guzman has yet to make an appearance with the club, but with a battle against first place Real Monarchs SLC looming we could see the attacking threat debut in Salt Lake City.
Part of the reason for a modified starting XI was in preparation of a Saturday match against Portland, which was cancelled due to Hurricane Harvey. How the four new faces will fit into the club’s plans for the rest of the season remains to be seen. Goals have been scarce for SAFC for most of the season, but they’ve been almost non-existent from the center forward position for the last few months. As San Antonio prepares for the playoffs, we may see various combinations in the final third while SAFC tries to find their finishing touch again.
One thing that is certain is that the club is defensively sound. Diego Restrepo earned his 10th clean sheet of the season last Wednesday, holding an 80.8% success rate by racking up 42 saves while allowing 10 goals in 18 appearances this season. As long as the defense holds, the club is poised to make a deep run into the 2017 playoffs.
Image: Darren Abate / USL
Game Twenty-Four. Salt Lake City, UT. 9/2/2017. Kickoff 8:00pm CDT. #SLCvSA
How to Watch: USL Match Center, USLSoccer.com
Keys for SAFC: Intentionally or not, SAFC has been very successful at coming away with at least a point this season. The Texas club has only dropped two USL matches all season, and coming away with a road point against the Western Conference leaders is something of which to be proud. With San Antonio’s phenomenal defense, the key to a draw or win is going to be the offensive minded players finding their finishing touch.
Player to Watch: Omar Gordon embarrassed Vancouver defenders in his home debut last week. His creativity on the ball could allow the visitors to generate goals if the forwards are able to get out of the rut in which they’ve been stuck.
Pitch Black News Projected Starting XI (3-4-3)**: Restrepo; McCarthy, Ibeagha, Hedrick; Newnam, Vega, Reed, Cochrane; Tyrpak, Forbes, Gordon
**Note: There have been significant formation and roster changes lately so this projected lineup is a bit of a guess. It could end up being the 4-5-1 we’ve seen more often.
Kyle Mahnke SAFC 2-2 SLC
Jonathan Check SAFC 1-1 SLC
Jose Mario Jimenez SAFC 1-0 SLC
Jesus Miguel Garcia SAFC 1-1 SLC