Final Word: Playoff Atmosphere in Tulsa as SAFC stumbles

Oneok Field, Tulsa

San Antonio came into Tulsa with a playoff spot clinched and Group D won. This match was far from meaningless as SAFC is battling for the top spot for home field advantage throughout the playoffs and FC Tulsa fights for its playoff life with Austin Bold.

Official announce attendance of 3,381 was the largest that SAFC has seen this season and although the fans in attendance seemed somewhat subdued in the first half there was a buzz in the air of nervous excitement and as the minutes waned late in the second half the crowd got louder and louder as FC Tulsa pressed and attacked looking for a match winner.

San Antonio FC had plenty of chances to run away with an easy three points. Unfortunately for the Alamo City Boys, shots would sail just wide and FC Tulsa Keeper Sean Lewis kept SAFC from finding the back of the net with 6 saves on the night.

SAFC first good chance came in the 21st minute when Jordan Perruza took a point blank shot from 6 yards out with only Lewis to beat, somehow Lewis made a quick reaction save to keep the match at nil-nil, Blake Smith in the 86th also had back to back opportunities to score, Smith first shot was saved by Lewis and had a second chance but sailed over the crossbar.

FC Tulsa, with its playoff berth on the line, pressed sending everyone up field in a final push to find the match winner. in the 88th minute, Martinez found himself one on one with Cardone just outside the six yard box, PC was able to quickly fall back and defend Martinez who was trying to get a good touch on the ball. Ball was cleared and FC Tulsa almost scored when a shot from Uzo hit the crossbar. FC Tulsa got the match winner with Eric Bird capitalizing on a scramble as SAFC desperately tried to clear the ball in the the second minute of stoppage time.

Matt Cardone finished with five saves on the night including a fantastic Save of the Week candidate in the first half.

FC Tulsa and San Antonio FC combined for 44 shots on the night.

The back three of Yaro, Taintor and Montgomery had 14 clearances as a unit, Taintor had 3 tackles, 6 clearances and a blocked shot.

Jordan Perruza lead the club with five total shots, two on target

USL Championship Highlights

SAFC Head Coach Alen Marcina

Footage from San Antonio FC

(On the takeaways from the match…)

““I think the biggest takeaway for us is the number of chances we created and how we didn’t put any in the back of the net. We have to be more ruthless. We had six or seven clear cut chances, and we have to put one of those in the back of the net.

“It could have been a lopsided game in our favor if we buried our opportunities. That’s what we will learn. All we can do is learn, progress and make sure we are ready for Austin.”

(On learning from the loss…)

“It was another playoff type game. We have a couple of good opportunities to learn from our last two away games. We have to take our chances and if we do that, we feel good. So, it’s something to work on going back to San Antonio.”

SAFC Goalkeeper Matthew Cardone

Footage from San Antonio FC

(On the result…)

“I think it’s important that we use the game as a learning experience and look at the things we need to improve on. It’s very important heading into the playoffs that we get the right mentality. It’s important that we learn from the result tonight.”

(On the defense this season…)

“We’ve been tight as a unit this year. When we need to defend and defend hard the guys are up to the task. It gives us confidence that our teammates are going to fulfill their roles.”

Race for Home Field Adavantage

San Antonio FC – 33 PTS – Matches Left: @ Austin (+2 Goal Differential over Rowdies)

Tampa Bay Rowidies – 33 PTS – Matches Left: v Charleston Battery

Reno 1868 FC – 32 PTS – Matches Left: v Las Vegas Lights; @ Tacoma (+7 Goal Differential over Louisville City) (One Match in hand over SAFC)

Louisville City – 32 PTS – Matches Left: v Sporting KC II

Pittsburgh Riverhounds – 31 PTS – Matches Left: v Union II

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