San Antonio FC (SAFC) is rolling into the United Soccer League playoffs after a 3-1 victory over in-state rivals Rio Grande Valley FC (RGV FC) Toros Saturday night at Toyota Field.
Two goals by newly acquired forward Ever Guzman, his fourth in the last three games, led the way for SAFC before an ecstatic crowd of 7,604. Leading scorer Billy Forbes added his 10th of the season, a San Antonio club record, to secure SAFC’s second win in a week and a second place finish in the Western Conference, ensuring at least two home playoff games if the team stays alive.
Forbes opened the scoring when he opportunistically capitalized on a defensive mix-up between Toros defender Kevin Garcia and goalkeeper Calle Brown. Guzman then scored a goal in each half to complete the scoring in the comprehensive win. Rio Grande Valley midfielder Eric Bird converted a long-range shot right after the beginning of the first half to bring the Toros closer, but Guzman’s 59th minute goal into a wide-open net after another RGV FC defensive mistake reestablished the lead for SAFC. A 73rd minute Red Card ejection for Toros midfielder Jose Escalante effectively ended any chances for a Toros comeback.
Forbes talked about the emerging relationship he is building with his fellow goal scoring partner. “I think Ever (Guzman) works hard. He runs everywhere. So with that being said, a player like me is going to try to pick him up every time I get the chance. I think with the space and the way he works up top, it really worked great.”
San Antonio FC will return to action on Saturday, Oct. 21 at Toyota Field as they host 7th place Tulsa Roughnecks at 7:30 p.m. in the Western Conference quarterfinals of the USL Playoffs.
San Antonio FC head coach Darren Powell is confident the team knows what is needed to be prepared for the playoff opener next weekend:
“We just have to make sure we’re confident in ourselves and our abilities and make sure the players are prepared physically during the course of the week for that moment. When our guys are in that way and in that type of form, we can be very confident in the performance we can deliver. The results will take care of themselves.”
For Rio Grande Valley FC, last night’s loss was the end to an extremely disappointing season, one that began when the club opened its audacious 9,700 seat Edinburg soccer stadium in March. Having perhaps overachieved when the Toros finished in 2nd place in the Western Conference in its inaugural season last year, the team didn’t do enough to improve the roster over the offseason to keep up with others in the conference. In reality, many of the Toros best players were promoted to the Houston Dynamo and never adequately replaced. The team was extremely young and the uneven results throughout the season were evidenced by the 11th place finish (9-15-8)-11 points short of a playoff spot.
Major League Soccer (MLS) Weekly Recap
Despite being outplayed for most of the match, the Houston Dynamo gutted out a scoreless draw on the road against Sporting Kansas City on Sunday. The point earned was sufficient to put the Dynamo into the MLS playoffs for the first time since 2013. The news was not so good for FC Dallas. Needing a result in Seattle against the Sounders, they instead were embarrassed 4-0, also on Sunday night. There still is a chance that Dallas can make the playoffs, but the team will need help on the final weekend of the regular season. Both Texas squads will be home this Sunday with Houston hosting Chicago Fire and FC Dallas playing Los Angeles Galaxy in Frisco.
United States Men’s National Soccer Team eliminated from the 2018 World Cup
Last Tuesday night the United States National Soccer Team shockingly lost 2-1 away at Trinidad and Tobago in the final World Cup qualification match for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. This loss, combined with a perfect storm of results in other qualification matches played in the North and Central America and Caribbean Confederation, means that the U.S. will not be playing in the world’s ultimate soccer tournament next year. This elimination breaks a string of participation in the last seven World Cups, which began in 1990 after a period of 40 years where the U.S. did not qualify. Late last week National Team head coach Bruce Arena resigned and US Soccer now enters a period of introspection to determine how it is possible that the U.S. could have lost a critical match to a country that has essentially the same population size as the city of San Antonio.
Despite the loss, a North American bid led by the United States is still in a good position to win the rights to host the 2026 World Cup.