Image: Houston Dynamo
What can arguably be called the most surprising roster move in San Antonio FC history, attacking midfielder Jose Escalante will join the Alamo City club on loan for the 2018 season.
The 22 year old Honduran has officially been with Olimpia since 2012, but has been loaned to various clubs including most recently Houston Dynamo. Because of the fluid nature of the MLS-USL affiliation system, Escalante spent significant time at RGV FC in both the 2016 and 2017 seasons.
SAFC fans might most notably remember Escalante for a wild few minutes in the September 23rd 2017 chapter of the South Texas Derby. After a beautiful top shelf goal in the 17th minute, Escalante was allegedly kicked in the head by SAFC defender Ben Newnam in the 20th minute, sending Newnam off and to suspension for violent conduct. If any SAFC fans want a reminder, you can find the action here.
Another questionable moment came the next time the two squads met, when Escalante appeared to kick Omar Gordon in the upper back, causing Escalante to end his season on a red card. Escalante will likely begin the season with at least a one match suspension. Ironically enough, we expect Omar Gordon to join SAFC again in 2018. The incident can be viewed here, with the video beginning moments before the incident.
Note: I want to be clear, the South Texas Derby has seen sub-optimal moments from both sides. As a fan, you have to admire the fact that the players have developed the matches into a real rivalry over the years. Knowing how much a player’s character factors into their ability to make this squad, I don’t believe Ben Newnam or Jose Escalante are dirty players or bad people.
Those two incidents aside, Escalante is a hell of a left midfielder, a position that many fans have been vocally worried about since the departure of Billy Forbes. His pace and effort make him a very interesting pairing with fellow left-sider Greg Cochrane, and his shot accuracy and situational awareness arguably make him an upgrade from Forbes in the counter-heavy attacking scheme we’ve seen over the last two seasons. Escalante’s 4 goals in 21 USL appearances left him tied for second-most goals for RGV in 2017.
The addition of Escalante to the squad means we could see something similar to this as an optimal starting XI:
So what do you think about the signing and the roster in general? Let us know in the comments or on social media @TwoTenSoccer