Image: Darren Abate, USL
In their penultimate match of the season, San Antonio FC came from behind to defeat Las Vegas Lights FC 3-1 on Saturday night at Toyota Field. SAFC currently sits in eighth place in the USL Western Conference with neither team who could unseat them playing this weekend.
“We know we need three wins and you can’t get to three wins without getting to one (last week),” said SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell. “This week, the message was we can’t get to three wins without getting to two. Now, we put ourselves in a position to get three next week.”
SAFC went with mostly the same starting lineup which defeated Seattle Sounders FC 2 by a 3-1 scoreline one week earlier. The only change involved Moises Hernandez returning to his spot in the center of defense, pushing Darnell King back out to the right side and bumping versatile defender-forward Mike Seth back to the bench.
SAFC started the match on the front foot but found themselves behind on the scoreboard in just the 12th minute. After the ball wouldn’t fall for SAFC, Las Vegas sprung a quick counterattack where midfielder Rafael Garcia chipped the ball for forward Sammy Ochoa to run onto, bring down and fire past SAFC goalkeeper Matt Cardone. SAFC has now failed to keep a clean sheet for fourteen matches.
SAFC just kept attacking as they had been and a quick break of their own leveled the match in the 34th minute. Midfielder Lance Laing found himself on the end of a ball up the left flank, which he ultimately played across goal for forward Ever Guzman to tap in. Despite joining SAFC just a month and a half ago, the assist tied Laing with King for the most from an SAFC player this season.
SAFC scored what turned out to be the winning goal just three minutes into the second half. Midfielder Ethan Bryant played the ball up the left for Guzman to run onto before cutting inside and rifling the ball in. The goal tied Guzman with Billy Forbes for the most in a season for SAFC, and it was the first brace for an SAFC player since Guzman did so when SAFC hosted Rio Grande Valley FC on Oct. 14, 2017.
“As a (forward), you try to be in the right place at the right time; sometimes the goals come, sometimes they don’t,” Guzman said through a translator. “Fortunately, today they did and I found a couple myself, but the most important thing to me is that the team got another result and that’s helping us towards our playoff push.
Despite coming under more pressure as the second half wore on, SAFC ensured their win in the 80th minute as Laing brought down a heavy cross and blasted it into the net to double the lead for SAFC. With the goal, Laing has both scored and assisted in five matches in his short time with SAFC.
“It was always (about taking) one game at a time and so far we’ve been good,” Laing said. “All we have to do is just win next week and hope results go our way.”
SAFC will close out the regular season on Oct. 13 when they host in-state rivals RGVFC, looking to win and give themselves the best chance at a playoff place. It will be the last time the two teams are alone in battling for supremacy of Texas as both Austin Bold FC and El Paso Locomotive FC will join the USL in 2019.