Image: Kiel Maddox, Fresno FC
San Antonio FC drew 0-0 away to Fresno FC on Sunday night at Chukchansi Park in the first leg of a two-match road trip out west.
“We fought and weathered a lot of balls coming into our box, but we dealt with them well,” said SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell. “In the end, the guys hung in there and managed to defend well with 10 men to earn the shutout.”
SAFC was looking to bounce back from a 0-3 loss to Orange County SC at Toyota Field in their last match on April 14. The loss was SAFC’s worst at home and tied their worst margin of defeat in United Soccer League play.
Despite having 60.5 percent of possession and outpassing Fresno 269-158 in the first half, SAFC had the lesser of exciting play by far – the “possession with a purpose” tactic which worked well in 2017 has departed. Fresno outshot SAFC 12-4 in the first half, including 3-0 on target and 8-1 inside the 18-yard box.
Fresno continued to put SAFC under pressure in the second half, though not to as great of an extent. SAFC repeated their first-half tally of four shots and one on target after halftime as well, while Fresno added seven shots, three of which were on target.
With most of the action going toward SAFC’s goal throughout the match, goalkeeper Diego Restrepo battled to keep Fresno scoreless. Much like Andre Rawls against SAFC last week, Restrepo came up big time after time, tying a single-match best for him in an SAFC shirt with six saves.
SAFC also managed to hold onto a point despite midfielder Kris Tyrpak being sent off with a straight red card in the 88th minute. Tyrpak was given his marching orders for lashing out at a Fresno player with his arm, and he could face a suspension of more than one match for the violent nature of the incident.
After losing their season opener away to Sacramento Republic FC, SAFC has managed to eek out scoreless draws in their other two away matches against LA Galaxy II and now Fresno FC.
“We need to win,” Restrepo said after the match. “This league is very competitive and any place you go you’re going to find a tough opponent, but our goal is always to win and we can build towards that by earning clean sheets.”
It’ll be a quick turnaround for SAFC as they now travel to Las Vegas to take on Lights FC on Friday at Cashman Field. SAFC will be squaring off against an unfamiliar opponent for the second time in a week. After that, SAFC will host Fresno at Toyota Field on May 5.