Image: Seattle Sounders FC 2
San Antonio FC lost 3-2 away to Seattle Sounders FC 2 on Saturday night in the first of two matches in the Pacific Northwest. The loss snapped a four-match win streak for SAFC, their second-longest in club history.
“Tonight wasn’t one of our strongest performances, so we need to regroup,” said SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell.“We have to make sure the players understand their roles in the team and that they can execute within the game.”
SAFC recycled their starting lineup from the 2-1 win a week earlier at home against LA Galaxy II, including midfielder Omar Gordon who won a penalty kick, missed it and was substituted off within 10 minutes early in the second half. Midfielder Pecka and defender Ryan Felix dropped off the injury report but were not in the matchday squad.
Seattle started aggressively and found themselves in front just five minutes in. Midfielder Henry Wingo burst forward and drove through the SAFC defense before smashing a shot from the top of the 18-yard box past SAFC goalkeeper Diego Restrepo.
S2 continued to put on pressure but gifted SAFC an equalizer courtesy of a mixup in defense in the 13th minute. Midfielder Jesse Daley was pressured into a backpass to goalkeeper Bryan Meredith, who let it run past him and never caught up as it rolled smoothly into the net.
SAFC took the lead 11 minutes later, with help from the frame of the goal rather than their opponents this time. Midfielder Charlie Ward swung in a free kick from the right which defender Stephen McCarthy headed solidly. The ball bounced back off the post before forward Ever Guzman tapped it in to score for the fourth match in a row he’s played and become SAFC’s leading scorer in USL play this season with fives goals.
Seattle had the better share of chances in the first half though and made sure they weren’t trailing at halftime, leveling the match at two goals apiece in stoppage time. Midfielder Alex Roldan squared the ball to Wingo, who poked it past Restrepo once more from a couple yards out.
The match nearly swung in Seattle’s favor again within the first minute of the second half. SAFC defender Stephen McCarthy brought down midfielder Shandon Hopeau in the box, but Wingo was unable to complete his hat trick as he fired the spot-kick wide left.
The constant action continued in the second half with S2 having the better share of attacking, and they scored the decisive goal in the 68th minute. The ball came to Hopeau centrally and he took a touch to make space and fired a rocket into the top corner to restore Seattle’s lead.
The latter stages of the match saw the sides continue to push back and forth, but some rhythm was lost due to the six yellow cards handed out in the last 20 minutes. SAFC made a late push for the critical equalizer but came up empty. Restrepo’s seven saves gave SAFC a chance but there wasn’t enough going forward to complement the shotstopping.
“We didn’t show up as a team tonight and we need to learn from that because in this league anyone can win,” Restrepo said. “We have to own up to our mistakes and work on them…we know we’re better than how we played tonight.”
The loss saw SAFC’s four-match win streak come to a sudden halt. It wasn’t the first time S2 snapped such a streak for SAFC as the sides played to a scoreless draw on May 13, 2017, to end SAFC’s five-match win streak.
SAFC will look to turn things around on Wednesday against Portland Timbers 2, the side sitting two points and one space above them in the USL Western Conference standings. The two sides last met in San Antonio on June 2 when SAFC scored two very late goals to snatch a 2-1 win, while the last time the sides played in Portland, on April 28, 2017, SAFC came out with a 4-0 win which is tied for their best in club history.