Toyota Field, San Antonio, Texas
*note – header photo from @prestonpetri on Twitter
It was the second of back to back matches versus RGV FC Toros. Both clubs met last weekend to a 1-1 draw in which RGV FC scored late in second half stoppage time. This was the first match back at Toyota Field since the shut down and restart of the USL Championship, it had been 140 days since SAFC had been on Toyota Field’s pitch.
SAFC had the majority of posession in the first half but RGV FC played a very defensive 4-5-1 looking for the Alamo City boys to make a mistake and counter. For most of the first half, SAFC had 70% of possession. RGV FC Toros came in playing tight defensively, especially marking Parano. At times, Cristian Parano had 4 defenders marking him. Parano was unable to maneuver or get clean passes for much of the first half. RGV FC defenders played physical and would knock down Parano on several occasions. RGV FC had one good chance at goal right before the half, but St. Clair was able to reel it in without much trouble.
The lone goal came in the 60th minute, when Parano intercepted a pass in RGV FC’s final third and with four defenders around him needled a pass to Di Renzo, who took a powerful low shot that bounced off RGV FC’s keeper Blanchette and went into goal. It was Di Renzo first goal in a SAFC kit.
Post game Coach Alen Marcina and Mitch Taintor acknowledge they were in a similar situation to last weekend’s match being up 1-0 late against a desperate RGV FC club looking to score. Taintor said in a post match interview they had work on defensive set pieces all week and used the #defend210 as motivation. SAFC kept RGV FC to only two corner kicks.
Post Match Quotes
SAFC Head Coach Alen Marcina
(On the match…)
“We did a good job managing the game. To get three points at home is always a good moment.”
(On the plan after halftime…)
“We just needed to continue to do what we were doing in the first half, and at the same time be more intense. It’s a make up of our identity. We are relentless with and without the ball. We have to be a little more ruthless in the attacking third.”
SAFC Defender Mitchell Taintor
(On defending and clearing the RGV attack…)
“Team-wise we were all set up in good positions to get the balls out that were whipped in. we are all connected. That’s a big thing for the back line. I feel like I was in some good spots and able to get the job done.”
(On seeing out the victory…)
“Obviously, we felt disappointed last week. It felt more like a loss than a tie. We found ourselves in a similar situation this weekend, being up 1-0 with 10 minutes to go. We learned from last week, we bunkered down, we didn’t let up and we were hyper-focused in the last 10 minutes. That was huge and that was the difference for us.”
SAFC Forward Gonzalo Di Renzo
(On scoring the goal…)
“I think we had deserved it for a while. We created a lot of clear chances that didn’t go our way, so fortunately Cristian took the ball, we went to goal and it ended with a goal.”
(On playing without fans…)
“It’s different. Nobody likes playing without fans because they give you the energy you need to change the scoreline and liven things up a bit. We missed them, but we know we have to win at home. We have two wins here and now we have to be better on the road because we have three of those in a row, but the most important thing is that we won tonight.”
What Went Right
Both Herivaux and Smith had over 90 percent passing success rate.
Joshua Yaro put in the Yeoman’s work with 3 clearances and 3 interceptions including a late clearance on a header inside the box.
Cristian Parano made the most of having mulitple defenders marking him, including the assist on Di Renzo’s game winner.
The offense ran through Mitchell Taintor
Finding a second goal to put their rivals away, RGV FC played tough defensively but SAFC should have put at least one or two more way.
Needing to take advantage of open players when Parano is marked by multiple defenders, a couple times it seemed like passes were being forced to Parano while being heavily marked.
A little more wing involvement. Could widen the pitch a bit more by using Smith and Maloney more on the wings. Use every inch of the pitch’s width as an advantage to create runs and passes. Could of created some space for Parano, playing in the False 9 early or created chances for Herivaux and PC in center mid.
All in all, a well played match for SAFC and the improvements needed are minor but could be the difference between one point or three points and a team like RGV FC is pesky and will always play SAFC tough in the South Texas Derby.
San Antonio currently sits on top of Group D with 7 points, two points clear of OKC Energy FC and with a match in hand. Next up for SAFC is the Austin Bold in Eloy at the Circuit of the Americas on August 1st. It will be the first of three consecutive away matches before returning August 15th against the very same Austin Bold club.
Outstanding article brother, keep up the great work!!