We are two weeks into 2020, and San Antonio FC has made moves. Some familiar faces, some have been confirmed not to return and some new faces. We have yet to see a striker signed yet. Although San Antonio FC seems to be systematically announcing player signings, by one per day and seemingly by position.
We are less than a month away from preseason matches stating and most clubs in the USL have started camp.
Players confirmed out:
Jack Barmby – MF – 2019 stats – 8 Goals; 5 Assists; 77.6% Pass Accuracy
A vital part of the midfield for SAFC in 2019 has signed with the Phoenix Rising who are clearly trying to win the USL Championship, who fell just short in the past two seasons and are looking to overcome the final hurdles to the cup.
Jonathan Viscosi – GK – 2 USL matches; 6 saves
Back up Goalkeeper, Viscosi only saw action on a few occasions which meant Matt Cardone was healthy all year. Viscosi has returned to Europe and signed with IK Sirius in Sweden’s top flight.
Pecka – MF – 2 Goals, 3 Assists, 88.8% Pass Accuracy
Pecka recently posted thanking the fans and SAFC saying he would return for 2020. A popular player and team captain has signed with North Carolina FC in USL Eastern Conference .
Moises Hernandez – D – 1 Goal, 112 Duels Won, 56 Tackles
Only appeared in 19 matches was effective playing in the midfield. He is entering his prime and is healthy. Hernandez is a quality and talented player with potential. Signed with Guatemalan club Antigua G.F.C.
Frank Lopez – F – 14 Goals, 37 Shots on Target
Scored 8 with San Antonio FC while on loan from LA Galaxy II. Was a spark from the moment he arrived and kept SAFC playoff hopes alive. Has signed with Oklahoma Engergy FC and is joined by former SAFC players Omar Gordan and Charlie Ward.
Ever “Cheno” Guzman – 8 Goals 1 Assist
Cheno has signed with Hartford Athletic, who a dismal inaugural season last year, they sorely lacked offense but seems to remedy that with Cheno. Going into the last part of season, Cheno played extremely well including a hat trick at Portland Timbers 2.
Brian Gomez – MF – 7 Goals 4 Assists
Brian has returned to Argenitna to play for second division Brown de Adrogue, a club he was with for three seasons from 2016-2018. With Brian’s departure, it confirms that six of the top 7 scorers from SAFC’s 2019 season will not return, lone exception being Cristian Parano.
Players confirmed returning:
Cristian Parano– MF – 7 Goals; 6 Assists; 84.1% Passing Accuracy
2019 USL Youth Player of the Year. Crisitan had interested from MLS clubs but returned with San Antonio FC for a second year. This is an important move for both SAFC and Parano. After a successful 2019 season, Parano will grow and gain more experience in 2020. Look for a big leap from Parano in year 2.
Ebenezer Ackon – D – 278 Duels won, 81 Tackles, 47 Interceptions
A rookie that played like a veteran. Played 2,970 minutes and is a centerpiece for the defense. Ackon did occasionally make rookie mistakes getting caught out of position but look for Ackon to grow and become better in 2020.
Matt Cardone – GK – 149 Shots Faced 94 Saves 63.1 Save Percentage
Matt is now an OG by futbol standards, as he returns for his fifth season for SAFC. So far, the only original member left from the inaugural season. While Matt had some excellent matches and quality saves, defensive break downs lead to multiple games where he gave up more than 3 goals and needs to improve his save percentage. With a bolstered defense, it should help Cardone.
Kai Greene – D – 48 Interceptions 103 Tackles 235 Duels won
Kai returns for his second season in the black and red kit. Had an excellent season as he led the club in pretty much every defensive category. A lot minutes last season and with only three in the back, a lot of mileage on his legs. With Marcina looking to go back to a four defense back set, it should help Kai and with his quickness be able to support offensively on the wings. Something we saw earl yin the season and rarely in the latter half.
Joshua Yaro – D – 35 Interceptions, 29 Tackles won, 118 Duels Won
With Yaro’s signing, it confirms all three starters from the defense return for the 2020 season. Yaro, we project will battle it out for the center back starting position.
New Player signings:
Santi Viera – MF – loan from Liverpool Montevideo (Uruguay)
The 21 year old Uruguayan is the newest to join San Antonio FC. Appears to be a center mid and direct replacement to Brian Gomez, although Gomez seemed more like a goal score than Santi. From we have seen Santi is creator of passes and should complement Parano’s style of play. Santi is shown to have a soft touch and quick passes. Rarely remains with the ball stuck to his feet but is fast to make runs to find the open areas of the pitch if he has no options to pass.
Connor Maloney – D – from Columbus Crew (MLS)
Has played soccer for most of his life in Pennsylvania, the full back has played for Penn State, was on loan with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds in the USL Eastern Conference. Played 13 matches with Columbus Crew but had a knee injury that sidelined him and struggled to get minutes in 2018. Still a highly touted player and we project for Maloney to be the starting left back.
Hayden Partain – MF – from Sacramento Republic
The Dallas native is coming in from Sac Republic, has 46 matches under his belt with the California club, also played with the Des Moines Menace in 2017. Having a club connection with Alen Marcina who coached the Menace in 2018. Should be a good fit as he has knowledge of the USL Western Conference.
Jesus Enriquez – MF – from RGV Toros
Spent his youth career with the Xolos, never made a cap with a the first team but was successful with RGV Toros has 4 goals and 3 assists in 2019. Will come in as the left midfielder.
Blake Smith – D – from Pacific FC (CPL)
First new player signing of the off season, comes in from Pacific FC of the Canadian Premier League, which just concluded it’s inaugural season. Had 24 appearances and 5 assists for Pacific FC. Also played for Miami FC (NASL), FC Cincinnati (USL), Indy Eleven (USL), Montreal Impact (MLS and USL).
Hunter Gorskie – D – from Loundon United
The 28 year old New Jersey native is a centerback with NASL Championship experience being part of the 2013 New York Cosmos club that won the NASL Soccer Bowl. Also had a successful season offensively with Tampa Bay Rowdies in 2017 when he tallied three goals. Before his short stint with Loudon United, Gorskie was on a free loan with Danish First Division club Thisted FC.
Players likely to return:
MF: Walter Restrepo, Rafa Castillo, Jose Gallegos, Leo Torres
The defense seems to shaping out nicely, some quality center backs will make for some stiff competition on who will be the regular starters, our guess is Kai will remain the starter and right back, Ackon will be locked in at right center back with Yaro, Blake Smith and Gorskie battling out for the left center back positions. Maloney will likely be the left back in the starting XI.
Eubossi was on loan last season and has returned home, Johnny Fenwick likewise is unlikely to return.
We hope Walter Restrepo returns for another season at SAFC, as the cub still needs a right winger. Michael Lahoud looks he won’t be returning to SAFC. Striker announcements should be coming in the next couple of days.
The way to early to tell Starting XI:
GK – Matt Cardone
LB – Kai Greene, LCB – Ebe Ackon, RCB – Blake Smith, RB – Connor Maloney
LMF – Jesus Enriquez, CMF – Crisitan Parano, CMF – Santi Viera, RMF – open
RF – open, LF – open
Next report: January 22nd, 2019
Wow we can stop goals but can’t score without forwards
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Glad to see that the priority is to fix what was a weak defense. I lost track of how many games over the past two years the boys would just blow leads. I think Alen will give SAFC a tougher mindset similar to The Scorpions. Tough D with some speedy strikers should do the trick. I think we’ll see a lot of Parano this season.
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