Final Word: SAFC’s Strong Start Ends in Disappointment

San Antonio FC appeared to cruise to a victory in Utah and ended in a loss. Real Monarchs scored on two penalties and Head Coach Darren Powell was sent off. The match reached a boiling point and tempers flared during the second half.

SAFC was off to hot start in this one as Brian Gomez forced a turnover in the 6th minute on Monarchs’ Kalen Ryden just outside the box and put one past Evan Finney by the far left post. SAFC kept the pressure and in the 17th Walter Restrepo’s long through ball from midfield found Brian Gomez as he burned Kalen Ryden at the top of the box, Gomez had an excellent first touch and got past Monarchs’ keeper Finney, who was coming up to disrupt Gomez.

After SAFC got the 2-0 lead, they appeared to sit defensively and let the Monarchs’ get back into the match. Monarchs took the next 10 of 12 shots before the half. Cardone made some outstanding key saves and SAFC was able to hold on to the 2-0 lead into halftime.

SAFC’s strategy was clearly to absorb the Monarchs’ attack going into the second half and played for much of the half with five on the back line. In the 47th minute, Monarchs was awarded a penalty when Moises Hernandez’ extended right arm made contact with Moberg. Maikel Chang converted, making it 2-1 still in SAFC’s favor.

In the the 53rd minute, the head referee Malik Badawi came over to the SAFC bench to have a discussion with Darren Powell and Alen Marcina, apparently over something Alen said. In the 55th Kyle Coffee drew a foul from Ackon when Ackon made contact with his shoulder from behind. Head Coach Darren Powell was ejected from the match right after the foul. Jack Blake converted the penalty and leveled the score 2-2. After play resumed, the match got chippy and tempers flared when Lahoud received a yellow card and minor altercation between Ackon and Douglas Martinez ensued. Walter Restrepo was booked for a yellow in the following minute.

Monarchs took the lead in the 72nd minute when Douglas Martinez crossed the ball into the middle of the box and Kyle Coffee’s header found the back of the net. SAFC, now behind, started throwing bodies forward in the final 18+ minutes. All of SAFC’s three substitutions were made after the Monarchs knotted the score. SAFC had two clear chances to draw even, one in the 81st when Gomez took a shot on goal and in the 90+4 when Kai Greene’s header missed the top left corner. Final whistle blew and SAFC walked away empty handed.

BY THE NUMBERS: two goals by Brian Gomez, six saves by Matt Cardone, Monarchs out shot SAFC 22-6, SAFC had 17 fouls and only had a possession percentage of 39.8

UP NEXT: SAFC (2-4-1, 7 PTS) will be at home against Tacoma Defiance (2-6-0, 6 PTS) Tacoma has a -19 goal differential. Match will take place Friday, April 26 at 7:30 PM

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