Image: Darren Abate, USL
San Antonio FC drew 1-1 with Swope Park Rangers on a windy Saturday night at Toyota Field. SAFC drew their second match in a row and is now unbeaten in three since losing their 2018 season opener.
All-time minutes leader and defender for SAFC, Greg Cochrane made the bench Saturday after missing the matchday squads the last two weekends due to injury. After administrative issues with his signing, midfielder Jose Escalante was available for his first match as well, starting on the bench. Both Cochrane and Escalante came on in the second half, two skilled players returning to SAFC’s rotation
“Whenever you have a fully healthy squad, it’s good and it makes the coach’s decisions very difficult for team selection,” said SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell. “Everyone that pulls on the jersey knows that and competition drives each and every individual to get better”
The two sides played an uninspiring first half hour with not even a handful of chances before Swope would spark the match to life with a goal in the 29th minute. Defender Colton Storm played a ball through for midfielder Kharlton Belmar on the right side of the 18-yard box where he cut inside and beat SAFC goalkeeper Diego Restrepo at his near post.
Conceding the first goal for the third time in four matches this season, SAFC would draw level just four minutes later as midfielder Pecka got forwrd, dispossessed a Swope defender and played a one-two with forward Ever Guzman before blasting the ball into the top left corner to draw SAFC level. The goal was Pecka’s first for SAFC since joining the club before the 2017 season, and the first Guzman has been a part of in 2018.
SAFC pushed forward for the go-ahead goal in the latter stages of the first half and continued to do so after the break, particularly when Escalante made his competitive debut for SAFC in the 59th minute. The two sides battled in terms of chances and challenges for the rest of the match, though neither managed to find a winning goal.
“We had some chances that we didn’t capitalize on, so we’re going home a little bit frustrated,” Pecka said through a translator. “The good thing is that we fought hard to get our goal back and next week we get to play at home again in front of our fans.”
Whereas all four matches played in Swope’s home of Kansas City over the last two seasons have had a winner, all three matches in San Antonio have now ended in draws, including another 1-1 in SAFC’s inaugural home match on April 9, 2016.
As Pecka alluded to, SAFC will play its second home match in a row next weekend when Orange County SC comes to visit. Like Swope, Orange County has had an impressive start to their 2018 season, winning three as well as drawing and losing one match apiece so far.