San Antonio FC (13-2-10) will attempt to secure their first trip to the USL Playoffs in franchise history as the Texas club faces Orange County SC (8-8-9) on the final leg of their Southern California road trip. A San Antonio FC victory would make the sophomore club the second to punch their ticket to the post season a full month before the regular season ends, and give Reno 1868 the opportunity to do the same this weekend. Currently sitting in third, SAFC’s true battle is to secure a top 4 finish to earn at least one home playoff game.
One familiar face in Orange County is Carlos Alvarez. The midfielder was the first player announced by both San Antonio FC last season and MLS club Los Angeles FC this season. He is on loan with Orange County until LAFC starts play next season. Alvarez was dealing with an injury when the two clubs played to a 1-1 draw in San Antonio earlier this year, but could make an appearance in this matchup.
The last time the two clubs met, tensions were high very early on. Kris Tyrpak opened the scoring in the 2nd minute, the fastest ever SAFC goal. Later, OC’s James Baxendale pushed SAFC head coach Darren Powell while retrieving a ball from under the SA bench. The match closed with an OCSC penalty goal in the 95th minute to level things.
Image: Darren Abate / USL
Game Twenty-Six. Irvine, CA. 9/13/2017. Kickoff 9:30pm CDT. #OCvSA
How to Watch: USL Match Center, USLSoccer.com
Keys for SAFC: The last time these clubs met, the game was as chippy as any SA has ever played in. Keeping their cool on the road will be important.
Player to Watch: Michael Reed is on a quietly strong run over the last few weeks. The midfielder and frequent captain has been involved in almost all of SAFC’s goals lately, and will look to continue the form in what we expect to be the new-look 4-4-2 formation.
Pitch Black News Projected Starting XI (4-4-2): Restrepo; Newnam, McCarthy, Ibeagha, Cochrane; Gordon, Roushandel, Reed, Forbes; Seth, Guzman
Kyle Mahnke SAFC 2-0 OC
Jonathan Check SAFC 1-0 OC
Jose Mario Jimenez SAFC 2-1 OC
Jesus Miguel Garcia SAFC – OC