San Antonio FC traveled down to the Rio Grande Valley to maintain the strong hold on first place in Group D of the USL Championship. RGV FC Toros has roster full of young, raw talent with potential for the future. RGV FC always plays SAFC tough and has been competitive in most matches this season despite being winless.
It was the Alamo City boys that scored first, just in the fourth minute. Blake Smith took a shot inside the box on a pass from Zach Herivaux. Blake Smith then added an assist to his stat sheet with a cross to Lucho Solignac, who scored on a diving header in the 20th minute. RGV FC pulled one back with a goal of their own in the 35th when Solignac tried to clear one in the box but misplayed it. Robert Castellanos was able to win the ball and take a quick shot past Cardone.
From minute 7:00 to 8:46 in the match players from both SAFC and RGV FC stopped play and went to the center circle to show solidarity for the recent events.
SAFC held on and put it away in the 90th when Gonza Di Renzo, who subbed in the 90th minute plus one scored probably the easiest goal of his young professional career in the 90th minute plus three of extra time.
Man of the Match:
What Went Right
Team chemistry continues to improve, quick touches and passes are indicative of team that knows each other well
Subs continue to make immediate impacts, Di Renzo comes in the 90th, scores in the 90th
Parano’s minutes: Is Cristian playing too many minutes in this shortened season? He showed heavy legs as early as the 60th minute of tonight’s match
Take advantage of every penalty taken. The missed penalty by Bailone most likely won’t hurt SAFC in any way, they got the victory. But every penalty is important as there are so few opportunities for in game experience which could come up again in the knockout stages of the playoffs.
SAFC Head Coach Alen Marcina
(On the match…)
“Hats off to RGV for 90-plus minutes. They made it very difficult and very challenging for us. It wasn’t our best performance; we will accept that, and we’ll learn. We will look at some of the things we did well and things we need to improve on and sharpen. But overall, the team demonstrated their grit and we are proud of them for that.”
(On the in-game player demonstration…)
SAFC Defender Blake Smith
(On the win…)
“We are obviously happy to get the result. Coming here and getting all three points was what we wanted to do. We were a bit sloppy both offensively and defensively. We are happy with the result but there’s a lot to improve upon for the next match.”
(About getting a goal and assist…)
“It’s good. When I get in the box and get an opportunity – it’s rare – so I’m happy I was able to put that one away. All season long I’ve been able to get tons of service in from the flanks, but I feel like my service has fallen short thus far this season. I was happy to get back on track, because I tend to pride myself on my deliveries.”
SAFC Midfielder Zach Herivaux
(On the in-game demonstration…)
“I think we all know we play a sport; we are professional athletes and we have the platform to send a great message out. Many people are tired and tired of waking up to see the news of black people dying and losing their innocent lives quite frequently. The BPA [Black Players Alliance of the USL] had the opportunity to talk about it and figure out how we could send a message throughout the games this weekend. I think this was a great opportunity to send a message and show that we are unified.”
(On having the support of his league and team regarding the demonstration…)
“It means everything. In order for this to happen we need everybody. From the whole league, to the players and staffs, it means a lot. We are tired of seeing this, and a lot of people are in pain, so we are trying to do our best to send a message.”
(Additional thoughts on social justice…)
“Just to arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor and Jacob Blake, so we can serve justice.”
Group D Standings
San Antonio sits comfortably on top of Group D with a 12 point lead on Austin Bold. SAFC has the biggest separation between first and second place place clubs in all groups. Austin Bold does have two matches in hand, with a match on Sunday at OKC. Barring an epic melt down of SAFC, they are looking as heavy favorites to win Group D.
If the playoffs started today:
San Antonio FC would win Group D and face El Paso Locomotive from Group C. SAFC currently hold the most points in all the USL Championship and would hold home field advantage through out the playoffs.