This Saturday, San Antonio FC (14-3-10) returns home for what feels like the first time in months to face off in a South Texas Derby. The Alamo City club has been on the road for almost the entirety of August and September, a road trip that saw them secure their place in the USL Playoffs, defeat Western powerhouse Salt Lake City, and find minutes for their arsenal of new attacking players. Unfortunately for the defensively strong team, they gave up 5 goals on their way to a 5-2 loss in Kansas City last week.
SAFC will look to shake off that loss when in-state rivals RGV FC (8-13-7) come to town. RGV is technically still fighting to earn a playoff spot, but sit at the bottom of the roughly 5 teams grouped together on the red line. If the baby Dynamo want to make a trip to the playoffs, they need wins and a draw in SA wont be acceptable. The alternative is that the club may look to use the final matches of the season to kick the tires on some of their fringe-MLS players, making their roster unpredictable but also potentially making winning less of an objective (see: Portland).
SA fans will likely be as rabid as can be after going so long without seeing their club in person. But for the players and staff, knowing four of their final five matches are at Toyota Field has to be the biggest comfort of all.
Image: Darren Abate / USL
Game Twenty-Eight. San Antonio, TX. 9/23/2017. Kickoff 7:30pm CDT. #SAvRGV
How to Watch: USL Match Center, USLSoccer.com
Keys for SAFC: At this point, SA is playing for playoff positioning. Getting a win against a bottom-half team must happen. Shaking off the defensive woes of the last match and being mentally strong should see a victory for the home side.
Player to Watch: In one bright spot of the loss, Billy Forbes recorded a goal and an assist in Kansas City. The winger was the best in the league earlier this season and finding his form just before playoffs would bode well for SA.
Pitch Black News Projected Starting XI (4-4-2): Restrepo; Newnam, McCarthy, Ibeagha, Cochrane; Tyrpak, Roushandel, Reed, Forbes; Elizondo, Guzman*
*Lineup note: SAFC has deployed different starting XI’s in almost every match lately. Trying to guess which attacking players will start is tough. Gordon has played very well, but is competing with Tyrpak and Forbes for time. Presley and Seth have both done well in the minutes they’ve had, but I’ve got Elizondo and Guzman getting the nod at least to start.
Kyle Mahnke SAFC 2-1 RGV
Jonathan Check SAFC – RGV
Jose Mario Jimenez SAFC – RGV
Jesus Miguel Garcia SAFC – RGV