The 2019 USL Championship season is now in the mid-season portion and San Antonio FC finds itself with 7 wins 9 losses and 6 draws. Time for another situation report by Soy_SAF. Check out our first SAFC situation report from the first 11 weeks of the season here: https://soysaf.com/2019/05/22/safc-situation-report-patience-wears-thin-among-fans/
We are now in Week 22 and SAFC has shown some improvement having been undefeated in five of the last six. The club has also gained ground in the playoff chase, although sitting on the outside, San Antonio is only two points from the tenth and final playoff spot. Six points separate fourth place place from 13th place in a highly congested USL Western Conference.
Recapping Weeks 12-22
The mid-way portion to the season started as a nightmare for SAFC. Two losses in weeks 12 and 13 to the Toros and Sac Republic seemed to doom SAFC’s playoff chances. San Antonio was outscored 5-2 in both matches and seemed to be going nowhere.
Week 14 saw the beginning of an improved team losing only twice over the next nine. SAFC scored 19 times over the last eleven matches, winning 4, losing 4 and drawing 3. A couple big results versus top contending teams, taking 4 points from El Paso ( a draw at home and a victory on the road), a trashing of the Austin Bold to avoid a season sweep from the hill country rival and a 3-1 win over the Real Monarchs.
Week 22 concluded in a bit of disappointment as SAFC’s five match unbeaten streak ended with a 3-2 loss to Sac Republic. A match that started very pedestrian for San Antonio falling 3-0 at the half then saw San Antonio battle back and fall just short with a 3-2 loss. A match which, in a microcosm, summed up San Antonio’s 2019 season thus far. San Antonio FC and fans shouldn’t be discouraged though, a new signing has brought an injection of offense into SAFC for the final playoff push.
The Loan Ranger!
In a surprise move to many, Frank Lopez came on loan from LA Galaxy II, joining Bradford Jamieson IV as the second loanee to make the trip from Carson to the Alamo City. Both LA products have been amazing for San Antonio FC, BJIV with five goals and Lopez scoring three for SAFC while having nine total on the season. Lopez has been a torment for defenders in all of his appearances for San Antonio, scoring in two matches and had one called back in a third. Lopez is on pace to score five to six more.
USL Championship power ranking have San Antonio ranked 16th after 22 weeks and was ranked as high as 12th before the loss to Sac Republic. So there are those who have faith in SAFC and the club is trending towards the playoffs. Problem is now that SAFC is running out of time and no match can be a throw away. The USL West is a tight race right now as San Antonio sits 12th as of the time of this article being published but with 27 points, San Antonio is only six points away from fourth place Austin Bold.
The defense has shown signs of improvement with three clean sheets in the last six matches; what is alarming, the defense has also given three goals in a match seven times (twice in the eight) in 2019 going 0-6-1. The defense should continue to improve so don’t expect them to keep giving up goals at a high pace.
In the midfield, Billy Forbes and Brian Gomez lead the club with three assists. May seem like a low number to be the assist leader this late in the season but 15 different players on San Antonio’s roster have contributed at least one assist this season. Cristian Parano continues to dazzle with his play, dynamic runs and passes and now has added two goals and one assist. Barmby has seem to taken a slight step back but his small mid-season slump shouldn’t last long. Pecka has looked good returning from injury adding his first goal on the season last Saturday, a golazo from distance.
Ever Guzman is an ever present danger for defenses and keepers, Lopez adds depth and goal opportunities. Jamieson IV is still a threat and contributed big goals in the last 11 matches.
You have to like what you’ve seen in the past few weeks from San Antonio, gaining ground in the USL Western Conference from 16th in week 11 to 12th in week 22. SAFC in team history has never made a run in the final part of the season in the standings. But the way San Antonio is trending, the club will be in the mix for the 8th place spot and hopefully get a home match in the play-in round. If things go SAFC’s way, a nice 5 or 6 match win streak plus a couple teams stumble down the stretch, SAFC could be in a top 5 spot for the playoffs.
By the Numbers
Frank Lopez ranks tied 11th overall in goals scored with nine. Lopez is 23rd with 38 shots
Billy Forbes is tied with Frank Lopez and Cameron Iwasa from Sacramento in shots.
Matt Cardone is second in the entire USL in saves with 63 only behind another bearded keeper, Cody Laurendi from OKC. Cardone is tied for 9th with 6 clean sheets
Jack Barmby is tenth in the USL with 44 chance created.
Ebenezar Ackon is eighth with 1,135 passes, his demeanor and aggressiveness in the back field makes us forget Ackon is a rookie because he plays like a veteran.
As a team, San Antonio FC ranks in the USL Championship:
Goals – tied 13th with 33
Shots – 9th with 311
Conversion rate – tied 25th with 13%
Clean Sheets – tied 14th with 6
Goals conceded – tied 17th with 32
Pass accuracy – tied 3rd with 81%
Fouls conceded – tied 11th with 289
stats source: https://www.uslchampionship.com/2019-team-stats