Image: LA Galaxy II
San Antonio FC drew 1-1 with LA Galaxy II on Saturday night at the StubHub Center Track Stadium in the first of their two-match trip to the West Coast.
The SAFC roster came into Saturday’s match slightly shorthanded due to yellow card accumulation. Defender Sebastien Ibeagha, midfielder Kris Tyrpak and forward Cesar Elizondo all sat out Saturday after their cautions Sept. 1 in the 2-1 win away to Real Monarchs SLC.
“(Saturday’s draw) gets us closer to the top and the competition for the first four spots is fierce right now,” SAFC midfielder Michael Reed said. “It could’ve been better, but it could’ve also been worse.”
SAFC began with a better hold on the flow of the match, but LA were dangerous when they found the ball and got forward. Behind their dangerous attacks, the hosts managed to even out the play in an exciting first half that ebbed and flowed.
Goalkeeper Diego Restrepo was forced into three saves for SAFC in the first half, including a diving punch in the middle of the box. Each side also often found the assistant referee’s flag thwarting their attacks, with SAFC winning the offside tally 4-3 in the first 45 minutes.
For the second week in a row though, SAFC conceded a goal early in the second half and had to fight for a result on the road. LA defender Jean Engola redirected a corner kick with an authoritative header in the 51st minute, beating Restrepo to give the hosts the lead.
Following the goal, SAFC stepped up their pressure for some time, not wanting to leave their goals late again. The push died down fairly quickly though and it started to look likelier that LA would double their lead.
However, Engola handed SAFC a lifeline late in the match when he conceded a free kick not far outside of the 18-yard box. After serving in the two free kicks which flipped SAFC’s previous match against Real on its head, midfielder and captain Michael Reed stepped up and buried the free kick himself in the 88th minute to snatch a point late.
“Tonight was a tight game between two teams committed to getting the result,” SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell said. “I’m proud that the guys were able to fight and come back to earn a point.”
SAFC won’t have far to travel for their next match, away to Orange County SC on Wednesday night. The two clubs last met just over a month ago in a 1-1 draw as OCSC grabbed a very late equalizer to cancel out SAFC’s early goal.
SAFC Starting XI (4-4-2): Diego Restrepo; Ben Newnam, Cyprian Hedrick, Stephen McCarthy, Greg Cochrane; Owayne Gordon, Michael Reed(c), Ryan Roushandel (Maxi Rodriguez 79’), Billy Forbes (Connor Presley 66’); Mike Seth (Victor Araujo 82’), Ever Guzman
Substitutes not used: Johnston, Pecka, O’Ojong
SAFC Discipline: Cyprian Hedrick (yellow card, 35th minute – first of the season)