Image: Darren Abate, USL
San Antonio FC lost 0-3 to Orange County SC on Saturday night at Toyota Field despite one of their best showings of the season so far in the first half.
“Everybody in that locker room is bitterly disappointed,” said SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell. “When you reflect on the performance over 90 minutes, you created enough chances there to win a couple of games.”
With defender Chris Christian rested, Ryan Roushandel moved downfield from his usual position as a defensive midfielder, and midfielder Rafa Castillo slotted into the lineup for his first start since Aug. 12, 2017 away to Reno 1868 FC. Jose Escalante also got his first competitive start in midfield, while leading scorer Mikey Lopez began the match on the bench.
After Orange County pushed forward for the first couple of minutes, SAFC took control of the first half. At times, Orange County goalkeeper Andre Rawls, on loan from SAFC’s MLS affiliate New York City FC, was often the last domino SAFC couldn’t knock over in their pursuit of a goal. Rawls made six saves in the first half, including a few Save of the Week contenders.
For all of SAFC’s dominance in the first half, it was Orange County who got on the board first, just three minutes into the second half. Defender Noah Powder got forward in the center of the pitch and won a free kick, which midfielder Koji Hashimoto sent straight into the top left corner.
After conceding the opening goal for the fourth time in their first five matches, SAFC had to fight back yet again. They had a trio of chances in the 54th minute but saw the first saved, the second go off the crossbar and the last go wide for a goal kick.
SAFC nearly went down by a second goal just six minutes later on the end of an Orange County counter, but defender Darnell King came to the rescue to keep the visitors within range.
SAFC just couldn’t reestablish their dominance in the second half though and finally saw the deficit doubled in the 83rd minute. Mark Segbers fed fellow forward Thomas Enevoldsen for Orange County’s second goal after SAFC’s defense could only stall the attack.
Things went from bad to worse for SAFC just three minutes later as Orange County forward Giovanni Ramos Godoy rounded SAFC goalkeeper Diego Restrepo at the top of the 18-yard box and practically passed the ball into an empty net to finish off a counter and SAFC.
“Sometimes the game is unforgiving,” King said after the match. “After we got scored on, we gambled a little bit and got sucked out and they put two more away. I think we’ve just got to come back next week and put away our chances – and obviously win games.”
The three-goal losing margin on Saturday was tied for SAFC’s worst in USL play and was unmatched as their worst at home in history. SAFC has taken five points from five matches so far, winning only once while drawing and losing two apiece. SAFC had the same set of results and therefore number of points after the first five matches of 2016, while 2017’s four wins and one draw far eclipsed the seasons sandwiching it.
After a two-week home stand, SAFC now has two away matches five days apart against Fresno FC and Las Vegas Lights FC, two newcomers to the USL whom SAFC has never faced.