The offseason is starting to pick up steam as we roll down the track towards the start of the 2021 season and San Antonio FC has made some moves to start building the roster. With some confirmed losses from the 2020 squad, SAFC is looking to find players to take the Alamo City Boys to the next level, which is lifting the USL Cup.
Cristian Parano – With no club yet to announce a signing, there is a buzz on where Parano will land next. The 2019 USL Young Player of the Year is on the radar across a few clubs around the world. Rumors surround interest from MLS, Portugal, Spain, Colombia and Argentina.
Blake Smith – Announced his retirement from the professional game. After stints in MLS, Canada and the USL, Blake Smith retired from professional fútbol. Smith enjoyed a successful season with San Antonio FC and was able to close out his career at home and in front of his family and friends.
Mitch Taintor – The best overall defender for San Antonio FC last season, returned to Sacramento Republic for the 2021 season. Taintor had come from SacRep after he had spent two season for the NoCal club. It was a tough loss for the back line and will be difficult to replace.
Carlos Mercado – The UIW product and Laredo native was promoted as the number two goalkeeper after Dayne St. Clair returned to Minnesota United after being loaned to SAFC. Mercado did not see any action in 2020. He is a young player, signed to SAFC after just his sophomore season at UIW. At UIW, Mercado recorded 57 saves, 72.2% save percentage and a 1.38 Goals Against Average. Not projected to be a starter but with development by Juan Lamadrid, could be a valuable back up if called upon.
Leo Torres – A youth academy player who made the step up to the first team. Played a few minutes in 202 but has yet to make an impact on a match. Still in development, Leo is still a year away from a potential breakout.
Jose Gallegos – This will be year two as a full professional for Joe Gallegos. He was a commit to North Carolina State to play college soccer in a tough and competitive ACC but decided to sign with SAFC prior to the 2020 season. This will need to be Gallegos’ break out year and time to fully shine. With the departure of Parano, Gallegos will need to fill that role of creator and goal scorer. Alen Marcina will not shy away from bringing in competition for Gallegos to fight for the coveted starting XI spot.
Liam Doyle – The man from the Isle of Man. The defender who will likely replace Mitch Taintor, the 6 foot 4 defender looks up to the task. Has success with the 2017 Swope Park Rangers (18 games, 2 goals) which made it to the USL Final that year. Spent the 2019 and started the 2020 season with Memphis 901. Came in late with SAFC and was in the playoff match with New Mexico United.
Ollie Wright – No Stranger to the Soy SAF family, The London native has been with St. Mary’s University, who made a run to the NCAA Div II Sweet 16. Also played with USL Two side Corpus Christi FC in 2019 where Wright had 7 goals and 15 assists. Carlos Mercado was also a teammate at CCFC. Ollie should be in the starting XI and make an impact. Good news is SAFC believes in Ollie and signed him for two years.
Cam Lindley – The latest signing for San Antonio FC prior to our second offseason report. Comes from Indy XI. The midfielder has experience wit the USMNT at the Youth levels, having caps in the U17, U18, U20 and U23. Cam is also projected to be on the USMNT for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic qualifiers.
Likely to return (Speculation time)
Goalkeepers – Matt Cardone
Defense – Josh Yaro, Hunter Gorskie, Connor Maloney
Midfielders – Zachary Herivaux, Victor “PC” Giro, Hayden Partain, Ethan Bryant
Small Chance of Return
Forwards – Nacho Bailone
San Antonio FC biggest needs this off season will be at the forward position. The only official forward is Jose Gallegos, the rest of the forwards on the 2020 squad were on loan. Will SAFC repeat strategy of 2020 and get players on loan to produce goals, will they look to the academy ranks, a fringe MLS striker or a proven USL forward?