Image: Portland Timbers 2
Despite opening the scoring, San Antonio FC fell 2-1 to Portland Timbers 2 on Wednesday night at Providence Park. It was the first time all season SAFC has lost consecutive matches, and it means SAFC returns from their two-match trip to the Pacific Northwest empty-handed.
“(This trip) didn’t go the way we wanted it to but now we have to look forward and bounce back from it,” said SAFC midfielder Kyle Murphy. “There’s still plenty of games left to play, so we’ll go full steam ahead.”
Following their 3-2 loss on Saturday away to Seattle Sounders FC 2, SAFC made six changes to their starting lineup. Goalkeeper Matt Cardone started in place of Diego Restrepo, who is on yellow card accumulation warning but one match shy of having one rescinded for good behavior. Pecka also started on the bench and came on in the 59th minute for his first appearance since June 23.
The two sides tested each other in the early stages but both defenses swept up what came their way, so it should come as no surprise that the opening goal came from a set piece. In the 28th minute, SAFC midfielder Omar Gordon lifted his free kick at the top of the 18-yard box over the Portland wall before it dipped back down and goalkeeper Alex Mangels couldn’t get a strong enough hand to it. The goal was Gordon’s fifth in the USL this season, tying forward Ever Guzman as SAFC’s leading scorer.
Portland began to ratchet up the pressure after conceding though and found their equalizer in the 42nd minute. Defender Lamar Batista sent a low cross into the box from the left and forward Foster Langsdorf redirected it back across goal and into the bottom corner of the net to tie things up.
The match picked up where it left off with both sides going at each other in the second half as well, but only Portland mustered another goal. Midfielder Renzo Zambrano drove forward into space with the ball before scoring a screamer from 30 yards out which took a deflection off an SAFC player to carry it over the outstretched hand of Cardone.
SAFC stepped up themselves in an attempt to get back on level terms, and it made the match even more open than before. Despite a few close calls and tactical adaptation though, there was to be no equalizer.
While Restrepo was spared a suspension for yellow card accumulation by virtue of not playing, midfielders Mikey Lopez and Pecka will miss the next match for that reason. It’s a tough blow for the latter as Pecka just returned from injury.
“We’re a bit pinned-back right now and we have a tough match coming up…so we need to come up with a response and get ourselves back on the right track,” said SAFC defender Cyprian Hedrick.
SAFC won’t play this weekend, instead hitting the road again to play Phoenix Rising FC next Wednesday. After that, they return to play a rare home game during this stretch of the season against Swope Park Rangers on Aug. 25, which will be SAFC’s fourth match in two weeks.