Image: Darren Abate, USL
San Antonio FC lost 3-0 away to Orange County SC at Champions Soccer Stadium on Saturday night, a repeat of the scoreline from when the two teams met in San Antonio on April 14.
SAFC retained their 4-2-3-1 formation and kept most personnel constant, including Cyprian Hedrick and Gianluca Cuomo playing their third USL match in a row as the duo in the center of defense. Interestingly though, SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell found space in his lineup for forward Alex Bruce and Ever Guzman, who normally plays as a forward but was instead deployed behind Bruce in the number 10 role. Winger Omar Gordon also missed his first USL match for SAFC since April.
The sides tested each other for the first half hour with OCSC having the better share of chances. They gained the upper hand on the scoreboard as well in the 33rd minute as Aodhan Quinn outmuscled Cuomo and played the ball across for midfield partner Thomas Enevoldsen, who controlled and smashed the ball into the net past SAFC goalkeeper Diego Restrepo.
SAFC could have gone down to 10 men in the 49th minute as Restrepo rushed out and brought down OCSC forward Michael Seaton without touching the ball. Strangely, the referee only awarded a yellow card as Restrepo and SAFC lived on.
OCSC continued to push and doubled their lead in the 63rd minute though after SAFC could only half-clear a corner. Quinn notched his second assist of the night as he played the ball back in for midfielder Mats Bjurman to poke home.
Finishing off their comprehensive win, OCSC added one final goal to their tally in second half stoppage time, outmanning SAFC on the counter. After a strong run by midfielder Mark Segbers and a couple horizontal balls in the box, Seaton smashed the ball in to make it 3-0 for the home side.
“Everybody in our locker room knows that a result like tonight’s is unlike us,” said SAFC defender Darnell King. “We need to be consistent throughout the 90 minutes and be more dynamic in the attack. We can improve on the way we pressure and the way we hold on to the ball.”
Things will only get harder for SAFC as they return home to face Real Monarchs SLC, who have the highest points tally in all of the USL, on July 21. Both teams rose to the top of the Western Conference in 2017, but only Real has stayed there this year.