Image: Darren Abate, San Antonio FC
San Antonio FC fell 1-0 at home to FC Dallas in the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt US Open on Wednesday. It was the first time SAFC hosted an MLS club, but besides that it was a standard night for the San Antonio team.
“We put up a really good fight and we had our chances to win the game, but unfortunately we had one mistake and they punished us for it,” said SAFC defender Greg Cochrane.”If we can do that against one of the best teams in MLS, we should be able to do that against any team in the USL, so if we can use that going forward, I think we’re going to be in a really good position.”
Each side made a few changes to their regular lineup but looked to be taking the tournament seriously. On SAFC’s end, goalkeeper Matt Cardone and midfielder Maxi Rodriguez, both San Antonio natives, continued their run of rare starts in every match of SAFC’s Open Cup run.
Both sides played aggressively in the first half, particularly looking for chances off long, incisive passes or quick counterattacks. SAFC nearly grabbed the lead in the 26th minute as midfielder Omar Gordon latched onto a long ball up the right flank and wove through the FC Dallas defense, but his shot was stopped near the goal line and cleared by defender Jordan Cano.
Midfielder Sonny Guadarrama had a similar chance for SAFC in first-half stoppage time, but it was again cleared off the line, this time by defender Matt Hedges.
Having nearly gone down twice in the first half, FC Dallas scored just seconds into the second. Midfielder Michael Barrios stole the ball from SAFC and threaded it through for forward Tesho Akindele, who placed his shot in the bottom right corner beyond SAFC goalkeeper Matt Cardone for the only goal of the match.
“They put their chance away and they took two off (our line),” Guadarrama said. “Obviously we’re upset about the score, but we’ve got to go away with (the knowledge) that we had a good game against a very good opponent.”
SAFC and Gordon weren’t done creating chances and the Jamaican attacker found SAFC’s best one in the second half as well. Evading and bursting past no fewer than three Dallas defenders, he struck a shot well but sent it over the crossbar and into the crowd.
The match stayed open until the end and both sides found chances, but neither was able to change the scoreline. FC Dallas saw out their 1-0 lead and advanced to the Round of 16, the draw for which will be Thursday morning.
SAFC made it as far as the fourth round for the second time in their three-year history, having lost away to Houston Dynamo 4-0 in 2016.
“That’s one of the best teams in the MLS and we’ve gone toe-to-toe for 90 minutes – I’m not frustrated with that,” said SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell. He also echoed Cochrane’s belief that this kind of performance shows what they’re capable of going forward in the USL season.
SAFC has a week off in USL play, returning on June 16 to host Sacramento Republic FC, who defeated SAFC 2-1 at home in the first match of the USL season for both clubs.