Image: Darren Abate, USL
San Antonio FC defeated Los Angeles Galaxy II by a score of 2-1 on Saturday night at Toyota Field, closing out a stretch of four matches in a two-week span from which they took maximum points.
SAFC’s injury report didn’t change from the previous match, but defender Darnell King and midfielder Jose Escalante were eligible again after serving suspensions for yellow card accumulation. The lineup had no real surprises, perhaps the most noteworthy element being sixteen-year-old midfielder Ethan Bryant starting beneath the lone forward once more, holding his own.
“Every game, I just try and grow as a player,” Bryant said. “I think it all just comes with time…especially with me being young, each game’s a learning step for me in my journey.”
Los Dos started and ended the first half on the front foot, but SAFC found chances themselves, particularly in the middle section. They capitalized on one of those in the 20th minute as King smashed a ball in after it bounced around the box following a corner. The goal was King’s first in USL play, though he did score SAFC’s first goal in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup against Midland-Odessa Sockers FC in May.
“When we’re not chasing games anymore, that’s motivation for all of us,” King said. “We’ve just got to keep having each other’s back through the whole game (and) whole season.”
SAFC started the second half more positively and doubled their lead just five minutes in. A slick move along the right flank culminated in Bryant sliding the ball right across the face of goal, where forward Ever Guzman poked it in for his fourth goal of the season and third in the last three matches he’s played.
SAFC missed a chance to put the match away three minutes later as midfielder Omar Gordon won a penalty kick and stepped up to take it himself only to see Los Dos goalkeeper Eric Lopez get down and parry it away. The denial revived LA’s spirit and they ramped up the pressure for the rest of the match.
LA did eventually cut the deficit in half in the waning moments of stoppage time, but it turned out to be only a consolation goal. Midfielder Jonathan Hernandez swung a ball in from the right which forward Frank Lopez redirected in, denying SAFC a prized clean sheet.
“In this business, you can’t look back,” said SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell. “During the course of the year, people ask about last season and this season– no, we have to look on the next game.”
Riding their four match-winning streak, SAFC now faces a tough stretch of all but two matches out of their next 10 being on the road, including multiple matches less than a week apart. So far this season, SAFC has a record of 2-3-4 on the road in USL play.