Final Word: SAFC knocks off USL Champs in opener

San Antonio FC kicked off it’s fifth season and the USL’s tenth year in existance in it’s modern form on Saturday night. This new look SAFC squad led by Alen Marcina was looking to make an immediate statement in the home opener and set the tone for the 2020 season. Their first test, the reigning USL Champions Real Monarchs from Salt Lake City, Utah.

The first starting XI of the season was very different from last year versus Phoenix, only one returning starter: Matt Cardone. Alen Marcina came out with a 3-5-2 formation with Blake Smith and Connor Maloney falling back at times to make a 5 man defense. SAFC set the tone early controlling the ball and possession, spending a lot of time in Real Monarch’s final third. Real Monarch’s formation was a 4-4-1-1 and looked to play defensively from the onset and looked for a counter. SAFC did not provide Real Monarch’s many opportunities at goal keeping the pressure high and maintaining possession for 58.1% of the time.

SAFC played well overall, not many mistakes were made by the squad. A couple mismanaged plays due to mostly it being early in the season but nothing serious or much to be concerned about. There was a turn over right in front of SAFC’s penalty area but Real Monarch’s could not capitalize.

Jose Gallegos played outstanding last night, after signing a professional contract and foregoing North Carolina State. Jose’s technical acumen has increased ten fold since last season. Gallego’s made some great decisions on and off the ball. Making some great passes and took a shot on goal that bounced off the post in the first half.

San Antonio FC’s goal came in the second half in the 67′ minute from Collum Montgomery from inside the six yard. The play actually began after a yellow card foul on Jose Gallegos. Gallegos was a making a run just past midfield and a late tackle sent Gallegos in a 180 degree flip and landed hard on the pitch.

Photo by: Soy_SAF

Hayden Partain took the free kick into the penalty box and as the ball rattled in the mixer, Real Monarchs attempted to make a clearance, Gallegos intercepted and made the pass to Partain who made came up from the midfield line, Parain quickly turned to his left and found a wide open Blake Smith and quickly made a beautiful cross to Luis Solignac who was sitting at the far post just outside the six yard box. Solignac thread the needle through three defenders and found Montgomery that quickly took the shot and it was all that SAFC needed to get the first three points of the season.

Just the Facts:

SAFC owned possession with 58.1 percent of the game

SAFC almost doubled the amounts of passes with 411

SAFC had 13 shots on the night

SAFC defense made 21 clearance versus 8 for Real Monarchs

Matt Cardone had 2 saves and first clean sheet of the season

PC had 87 percent pass completion

Attendance was 7,020; smallest opening day attendance is team history

Photo by: Soy_SAF

Up Next:

San Antonio FC will hit the road to The Centennial State to face Colorado Springs Switchbacks who defeated Oklahoma City Energy 2-1. Both clubs have face each other nine times and Colorado Springs leads the overall series three wins, two loses and four draws. Colorado leads in goals nine to eight

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