Cashman Field, Las Vegas
San Antonio FC placed its bets on moving up in the playoff picture instead crapped out. It was not a good night for San Antonio as the Lights doubled up on SAFC 4-2, Frank Lopez lost his cool and the club slipped out of a playoff spot with two matches left in the season.
With Walter Restrepo out of the starting XI for the match with yellow card accumulation, Jack Barmby got the nod and made the start playing on the wing. While Barmby had an effective evening with 84.3 percent completion on 51 passes, the lack of Restrepo of being on the pitch was felt. Barmby’s role for much of the game appeared to be to widen the pitch in the middle third to create openings for the attackers, compared to Restrepo who is more willing to attack inside the box.
First goal came in the 8th minute for Las Vegas Lights was a questionable one, while Yaro did clear the ball on the goal line, the referee made the call that the ball completely crossed and gave Vegas the early lead. Credit to the assist ref, he did have the angle and a good view.
San Antonio was able to respond quickly on a long cross from Rafa Castillo to Brian Gomez in the 10th minute. Gomez was able to get a excellent first touch, broke down two defenders and got the shot past the diving GK, Olsen. It was Gomez’ 6th goal of the season and Castillo’s second assist.
SAFC seemed in a good position after that until the 22nd minute when Vegas scored again, seemed to an advantage played on a foul. SAFC two defenders pushed up to cover Sousa, but Moises Hernandez already had him covered and blocked Sousa’s shot. With Yaro and Ackon pushed up to assist Hernandez, it left Kai Greene and Las Vegas’s Etaka in a one on one to battle for the trickling ball in the box, Etaka had position over Greene to win the ball and was able to get past a diving Cardone. A goal which could have been avoided if the back three had stayed together.
Frank Lopez had a good chance at goal in stoppage time of the first half on a cross from Jack Barmby, which would of leveled the match 2-2 at the half and would of had SAFC feeling good about themselves going into the final 45 minutes of play. Just moments later, right before the half, Vegas strikes again with a goal. SAFC’s defense played Vegas soft and paid for it. Going into the half it was 3-1, in favor of Vegas.
Fast forward to the 70th minute and Frank Lopez converts on a penalty after getting fouled in the box. It cut the lead 3-2, SAFC still had work to do to at least walk away with a draw. SAFC defense played better in the second half and SAFC attacked for much of the last 20 minutes looking for that third goal. While SAFC created chances, Vegas was able to foil any attack. Then in the 90th minute, Frank Lopez fouled a Vegas player, but was then shown a red card for violent conduct. Lopez lost his cool in the dire minutes. Lopez, who flipped both middle fingers to the home crowd as he walked off to the locker room, may not see action in a SAFC uniform ever again.
Two minutes later and a man down SAFC gave up another goal; the game ended 4-2 and another road loss. As the dust settled, SAFC is now in 11th place, one point behind New Mexico who drew 1-1 with RGVFC. New Mexico does have one game in hand and if they capitalize, will widen the gap to four points. Even if SAFC wins in Portland on Friday, they could be eliminated by the time they take the pitch at Toyota Field for the last game of the season.
Remaining Schedules for the battle for the tenth spot:
10th New Mexico United – 42 Points – 10 Wins 9 Losses 12 Draws Remaining Schedule – at Tulsa (10.12.19), vs Tacoma (10.16.19), vs Las Vegas (10.19.19)
11th San Antonio FC – 41 Points – 11 Wins 13 Losses 8 Draws Remaining Schedule – at Portland (10.11.19), vs Colorado Springs (10.19.19)
12th Las Vegas Lights – 41 Points – 11 Wins 13 Losses 8 Draws Remaining Schedule – vs Reno (10.12.19), at New Mexico United (10.19.19)