A season opening 14 game unbeaten streak came to an end Saturday night when the San Antonio FC (SAFC) soccer team (10-1-4) lost 1-0 on the road to the Colorado Springs Switchbacks in United Soccer League action.
A first half stoppage time goal by Switchbacks midfielder Sean McFarland, who headed a direct kick past SAFC goalkeeper Diego Restrepo in the last seconds of the half, was all Colorado Springs needed to break the SAFC unbeaten streak.
Strong early San Antonio possession, culminated in an excellent 25th minute attempt by forward Aly Hassan that was deflected over the crossbar by the Switchbacks goalkeeper. Colorado Springs then dominated the remainder of the first half leading up to the winning goal. The Switchbacks pressured San Antonio by pushing multiple players into the attack, making it difficult for San Antonio to respond as their midfielders were forced to defend the aggressive home team offensive effort. Prior to the goal, the Colorado Springs forced San Antonio clearances that led to 7 first half corner kicks.
After falling behind at the break, SAFC pushed forward aggressively at the beginning of the second half. Star attacker Billy Forbes, who leads San Antonio with 6 goals on the season, was introduced as a substitute midway through the second half. Unfortunately, Restrepo was issued a straight red card, for denial of a goal scoring opportunity, in the 77th minute after he brought down Switchbacks forward Kevaughn Frater just outside of the penalty area.
Playing a man down San Antonio was still able to create clear opportunities, first by Hassan who was unlucky when his 72nd minute close-in shot went straight into the legs of the Switchbacks goalkeeper and, most dangerously, when midfielder Kris Tyrpak slammed a shot off the crossbar 10 minutes later. The Switchbacks squandered two golden opportunities to put the game out of reach late in the match, when Frater was unable to convert on two breakaway attempts.
San Antonio FC remains in second place in the Western Conference of the United Soccer League (USL), three points behind leaders, Real Monarchs SLC. The USL is a second-division North American soccer league, one level below the top professional league, Major League Soccer (MLS). This match completes the regular season series between San Antonio and Colorado Springs. The teams previously played to a 1-1 draw in San Antonio earlier this season, the only other time SAFC has trailed at halftime this year.
San Antonio FC, owned by Spurs Sports and Entertainment, plays a 32-game regular season schedule that stretches from March to October, followed by playoffs if it qualifies. In the second year of its existence, the team plays its home matches 20 minutes down I35 at Toyota Field, an 8,000-seat soccer specific stadium. San Antonio FC and the Spurs are currently bidding to be one of four new expansion teams that MLS intends to award in the next few years.
After the match, San Antonio head coach Darren Powell commented on the effort applied by the team despite the loss.
“We have to respond after tonight. I’m proud of the players, their performance was strong. There were instances in the game that made it difficult but you can’t be more proud of the players. They kept working until the final whistle to get a tying goal but unfortunately we were unable to find it.”
San Antonio FC will return to action this Saturday when it visits Sacramento Republic FC. The club will then return to Toyota Field for its first international exhibition in club history as it hosts Club Santos Laguna of the Mexican First Division, Liga MX, on Saturday, July 8.
Switchbacks FC: 1-0, Sean McFarlane (Mastanabal Kacher assist) 45’
Switchbacks FC: Yellow Card (Josh Suggs 41’)
Switchbacks FC: Yellow Card (Kevaughn Frater 56’)
SAFC: Red Card (Diego Restrepo 77’)
GK: Diego Restrepo; D: Cyprian Hedrick, Sebastien Ibeagha, Stephen McCarthy, Greg Cochrane; M: Maxi Rodriguez, Michael Reed (c), Mark O’Ojong (Devin Vega ’67), Kris Tyrpak, Shawn Chin (Billy Forbes 59’); F: Aly Alberto Hassan (Lee Johnston 79’)