Image: Darren Abate, USL
San Antonio FC defeated Portland Timbers 2 by a score of 2-1 on Wednesday night at Toyota Field, a match rescheduled from Aug. 26 due to Hurricane Harvey.
Despite Swope Park Rangers winning by the same scoreline, SAFC’s win guaranteed them a home match in the first round of the United Soccer League playoffs. SAFC will finish at least third and can guarantee second place with a win in their final match Saturday.
SAFC managed a few early chances, but they lacked the final, lethal ball. That changed in the 16th minute as forward Ever Guzman leaped into the air to head into the net, scoring his second goal in his last 20 minutes of game time over the two previous matches.
Given space on the left to work, midfielder Billy Forbes tallied his eighth assist of the season with the precise cross which led to the goal, making him the franchise leader in assists for SAFC.
Despite a relatively young Portland side – their oldest starter was 23 years old – they played with little to no fear and pushed SAFC on a number of occasions. That sometimes led to free kicks, one of which led to a goal in the 35th minute as midfielder Renzo Zambrano swung the set piece in from the left and defender Bill Tuiloma headed it into the net to level the score.
With much more to play for, SAFC stepped up in the second half and created chance after chance. The Portland defense kept them at bay and made them work for the winning goal, but it eventually came.
A lucky deflection in the 71st minute gave Guzman the ball just a few yards from goal, and despite being closed down and forced wide, he cut it back for midfielder Ryan Roushandel to smash it home. The goal was Roushandel’s first for SAFC, having been with the club since the start.
Portland fought back and created a couple of dangerous chances to equalize, but SAFC ultimately held onto the win.
SAFC will close out the regular season on Saturday when they host Rio Grande Valley FC. The regional rivals have split their first two matchups this season, with the away team coming away with the lone goal each time. A week later, SAFC will host their first ever playoff match.
SAFC Starting XI (4-1-4-1): Diego Restrepo; Andrew Moullin (Stephen McCarthy 46’), Cyprian Hedrick, Sebastien Ibeagha(c), Greg Cochrane; Ryan Roushandel; Kris Tyrpak (Cesar Elizondo 82’), Maxi Rodriguez (Michael Reed 46’), Billy Forbes, Owayne Gordon; Ever Guzman
Substitutes not used: Johnston, Araujo, Presley, Seth
SAFC Discipline: N/A