Image: Jeff Mulvihill, Reno 1868 FC
San Antonio FC saw their five-match unbeaten streak disappear as they lost 2-1 to Reno 1868 FC at Greater Nevada Field on Saturday night.
“As always, we need to make sure we improve on both sides of the ball, when we have it as well as when we don’t,” said SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell. “That’s a constant for us throughout the year and it’s a commitment we have to improve on as we progress week to week.”
Despite a growing injury list, SAFC trotted out a standard lineup, with midfielders Omar Gordon and Mikey Lopez continuing their run of games after working their way back into the lineup recently. Sixteen-year-old Ethan Bryant also made the bench after playing 120 minutes and drawing a penalty kick in his SAFC debut on Wednesday in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.
It was a battle of goalkeepers particularly early on, with SAFC giving Reno’s JT Marcinkowski the first serious test of the night. Following a deflected shot, midfielder Jose Escalante headed goalwards from a couple yards out but the attempt hit Marcinkowski and deflected away.
As the half wore on, Reno put SAFC under more pressure, forcing goalkeeper Diego Restrepo into multiple highlight-worthy saves. As the offense stutters, Restrepo continues to keep games closer than they should be, but this time it wasn’t enough.
Restrepo ended up the first goalkeeper beaten, conceding in the 39th minute as Reno finally unlocked the SAFC defense. Some slick passing culminated in forward Mohamed Thiaw slipping a ball through for midfielder Jerry van Ewijk to smash beyond Restrepo’s reach and into the corner.
SAFC didn’t let Reno’s lead stand long after halftime though, equalizing three minutes after the restart. Midfielder Omar Gordon swung a cross in just right to sneak in at the near post, giving the Jamaican his third goal in four matches in all competitions for SAFC.
Reno regained the lead in the 61st minute though as Thiaw bagged a goal of his own, heading the ball in off a scramble in front of goal following a free kick. After losing and conceding multiple goals in just four matches in 2017, SAFC has already done both three times so far this season.
SAFC again pushed for an equalizer but Marcinkowski and difficulties breaking Reno down kept them from leveling again, and they nearly saw the deficit grow on a couple occasions as they got caught out. There was no shortage of chances as each side had 19 shots, but Reno was more lethal with theirs and grabbed all three points. Restrepo made five saves on the night to Marcinkowski’s four.
“We have to give credit to Reno for playing a good brand of football, but I think we left a bit to be desired,” said SAFC defender Greg Cochrane. “We had chances that we didn’t capitalize on and gave up goals that we shouldn’t have.”
SAFC has the benefit of a week off for a change after playing midweek in the Open Cup the last two Wednesdays. Portland Timbers 2 will square off against SAFC on June 2, entering the match in second place in the USL Western Conference and having won four of their last five matches, including 1-0 at home to Real Monarchs SLC, the only team above them in the table.