Final Word: Viva la Victoria

The rain held off on Saturday night but San Antonio FC made it rain goals in the first ever meeting versus Birmingham Legion FC in a USL inter-conference match up. It was crucial match for SAFC to keep pace with Rio Grande Valley and New Mexico United in the young 2021 season. SAFC did not disappoint as they set the tempo early in the match.

Patino looks back at Birmingham’s Kativa after a foul. Photo by Soy SAF

Santiago Patiño scored in the first minute (third fastest goal in club history) for the Alamo City Boys and the defense made adjustments, played much more organized against the Legion. Jose Gallegos made his first start of the 2021 season, after a two week stint in Europe and recovering from a lower body injury. Gallegos, in 54 strong minutes of play, impressed with crisp passes and was involved in the play leading up to Patiño’s goal.

Jose Gallegos made his first start of 2021. Photo by Soy SAF

Jordan Perruza came off the bench to score SAFC’s second goal of the night in the 81st minute of the second half.

Jordan Perruza takes a Shot on Goal versus Birmingham on Saturday evening. Photo by Soy SAF.

Matt Cardone made several saves including back to back saves in stoppage time to maintain the win. Legion held 62.9% possession and was able to score late but it was not enough.

USL Championship Highlights

SAFC Head Coach Alen Marcina

(On the night overall…)

“Tonight was all around a special night. I’m so proud of everyone. We played in front of a sold out crowd. Our fans were amazing and brought so much energy. We got to celebrate a city tradition with ‘Viva Night’ and that was amazing as well. The front office did a great job and the players were committed. They earned the result.”

SAFC Defender Mathieu Deplagne

(On scoring in the first minute…)

“It changes everything, it changed the game. It’s easier for us especially at home. That’s a good way to start the game, and after a win it feels even better.”

(On the mentality to hold onto the lead…)

“We showed a lot of resilience. It’s not easy when you consider the team is pushing in the last minutes. We showed a strong mentality tonight to win and preserve the lead. I am a bit upset; we should have won 2-0, but it’s good to show the resilience.”

Full Post match interview, photo by Soy SAF

By the Numbers:

Santiago Patiño leads the USL Championship with 5 goals on 9 shots.

Matt Cardone recorded 5 saves on Saturday night and has 14 saves for the season.

SAFC were booked with 5 yellow cards on the night.

Birmingham Legion controlled possession, holding the ball for 62.9% of the match.

Sam Gleadle during the first half of Saturday night’s match. Photo by Soy SAF

Up Next

San Antonio FC (2-1-1; 7 PTS) does not have to wait long for revenge as they host Rio Grande Valley Toros FC (3-0-1; 9 PTS) next Saturday at Toyota Field. The Toros took the first match of the South Texas Derby and Round 1 of the Copa Tejas just last week. Round 2 was also played on Saturday night as the Toros lost 1-0 to El Paso Locomotive.

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