Since their founding in 2016, San Antonio FC (SAFC) has made three trips to Frisco during the preseason to play matches against Major League Soccer’s (MLS) FC Dallas (FCD). Tomorrow night the script is flipped as FCD makes its way to Toyota Field to play in the Alamo City at 7:30 p.m
SAFC coach Alen Marcina talked about the benefits of this match for both sides after training this morning. SAFC is looking forward to the opportunity to test itself midway through its preseason against a very good MLS team. Marcina commented on how the trip also benefits FCD because it provides them with the game-day like environment they are seeking at this point in preseason.
San Antonio has hosted Major League Soccer teams twice previously, both in U.S. Open Cup matches. In 2012 the Houston Dynamo lost to the San Antonio Scorpions in the Third Round at Heroes Stadium (next to Toyota Field). FCD defeated SAFC in a 2018 Fourth Round Open Cup match at Toyota Field.
San Antonio FC
SAFC began preseason training two weeks ago. The club didn’t hire its new Head Coach, Alen Marcina, until December 9th, so the technical staff and roster are still a work-in-progress.
The club has played two preseason matches to this point-a 5-1 victory over OKC Energy FC in Frisco at the beginning of February and a 6-2 loss to El Paso Locomotive in El Paso last Saturday.
SAFC began preseason with only 16 rostered players and has since added two attacking players, former MLS striker Luis Solignac and forward Ignacio Bailone on loan from an Argentinian Second Division club. Today FC Dallas loaned defender Callum Montgomery to SAFC for the season, subject to recall. According to The Athletic’s Jeff Rueter, SAFC will soon add a second goalkeeper when Canadian Dayne St. Clair joins them on loan from Minnesota United.
The club featured multiple players from both its Development Academy and the Elite Training Program collaboration with local youth clubs in both preseason matches.
One of the things I most looked forward to seeing tomorrow was USL Championship 2019 Young Player of the Year Cristian Parano compete against a first-choice MLS side. Unfortunately this news was announced yesterday:
FC Dallas has played 5 preseason matches, winning three in Frisco: split squad matches against amateur side NTX Rayados and USL Championship’s OKC Energy FC and then a win over USL’s Austin Bold last Saturday. The other preseason matches in Southern California saw them lose to Vancouver and tie LAFC.
The FC Dallas roster was essentially set before the preseason began. The last major piece was signing Argentinian striker Franco Jara from LigaMX’s Pachuca CF, who will join the club when the Secondary Transfer Window opens in July.
Three FC Dallas players were part of the USMNT January camp and played in the 1-0 victory over Costa Rica on February 1st. Reggie Cannon, who is becoming a national team fixture, played the full 90 minutes. Brandon Servania and Jesus Ferreira came on as substitutes in their first national team appearances.
The club announced yesterday that key center midfielder and Honduran International Bryan Acosta underwent emergency appendectomy surgery. No timetable has been set for his return.
FC Dallas Head Coach Luchi Gonzalez commented this morning on the club website that they would take 22 players to San Antonio and give one lineup the majority of the minutes. He also mentioned in this video that a 30 minute “reserve” game will be played at the conclusion of the first match to give minutes to the remaining players.
What to Watch
- FC Dallas midfielder Michael Barrios is one of the most exciting players to watch in MLS. Barrios has played in 158 regular season matches for FCD in his 5 years with the club, scoring 30 times.
- Fans of the U.S. Senior and Youth National teams will have a chance to see a basket-full of both current and potential FCD future national team regulars. In addition to Cannon, Servania and Ferreira, there are a number of other rostered players who have seen time in various U.S. senior and youth national team matches and camps: GK Jesse Gonzalez. Defenders Matt Hedges, John Nelson, and Eddie Munjoma, the most recent Homegrown signing for the club. Midfielders Edwin Cerrillo, Paxton Pomykal, and Thomas Roberts. Pomykal, who is one of the Senior team’s brightest young prospects, had to withdraw from the January USMNT Camp and has yet to play this preseason. 17 year old Ricardo Pepi and 16 year old Dante Sealy are two forwards who are already youth team regulars. Many of these players will see regular minutes at their defending Champion USL League One club-North Texas SC this year. It is entirely possible that the FC Dallas Academy, given recent and current players it has helped develop, in the near future may end up producing more USMNT players than the entire state of Texas has produced in its history.
- San Antonio FC has almost completely turned over its midfield and attacking groups in the offseason including adding three players on loan from South American clubs: Santiago Viera from Uruguay, and Gonzalo Di Renzo and Ignacio Bailone from Argentina. MLS and USL veterans like Luis Solignac, Victor “PC” Giro, Zach Herivaux, Hayden Partain and Jesus Enriquez, who moves north from RGV FC, provide additional options for Coach Marcina. This will be the first chance for home fans to see the results of the attacking roster reconfiguration.
San Antonio FC finishes preseason with a match in Florida against Orlando City SC on February 21st and a week later hosts RGV FC in San Antonio. The regular season begins with a home match against defending USL Championship Final winners Real Monarchs on Saturday, March 7th at Toyota Field.
FC Dallas finishes the preseason with two matches in Florida next week against Philadelphia Union and Inter Miami CF. FCD will face the Union again in the February 29th regular season opener at Toyota Field in Frisco.