Toyota Field, San Antonio
A wild night at Toyota Field with much at stake in the early part of the 2021 USL Championship regular season. This match had first place in the Western Conference Mountain Division, the Copa Tejas and bragging rights in the South Texas Derby on the line. Some great saves, goals, lots of fouls and an appearance of a cat running on the pitch made the night, taking this derby to another level.
The match early on was in RGVFC’s favor as they attacked and spent much of the time in SAFC’s final third during the first ten minutes of the match. In the 12th minute Victor “PC” Giro went down in an apparent lower body injury and was replaced by Emil Cuello.
The tempo changed for SAFC as they played aggressive and looked for the first goal of the night, the Alamo City Boys had several chances but the goalkeeping from RGVFC’s Tyler Deric was outstanding. San Antonio finally got a break in the the 40th minute with a goal from Marcus Epps, the assist came from Emil Cuello.
The fouls were much of the story in the second half, as the match dug into the midfield trenches, until a red card was handed to Emil Cuello on a hard foul. That left San Antonio FC with ten men and it was evident they wanted to “park the bus” after that. Defender Joaquin Varela came in to replace Forward Marcus Epps and SAFC played deep in their own half.
In the 89th minute, Jasser Khmiri conceded a corner to RGVFC. On the play, the Toros’ Adrian Diz Pe headed the ball into the box where Juan Azócar converted a magnificent bicycle kick into the upper right corner past a diving Matt Cardone.
The match went back and forth and was physical for much of it; 33 fouls, 4 yellows and a red between both squads. The head referee made some questionable calls on some seemingly soft fouls early. San Antonio FC could of won this game 4-1 if it wasn’t for Deric’s fantastic saves.
The match ended in a 1-1 draw giving SAFC 8 points on the season and a hold of second place in the USL Western Conference Mountain Division and get the first point of the Copa Tejas.
By the Numbers
Since 2019, San Antonio FC has given up a late goal 21 times in the 78th minute or later, including playoffs, and have a record of 4 wins, 4 draws and 13 losses in those matches.
Jasser Khmiri lead the SAFC defense with 2 tackles, 2 clearances and 7 interceptions
Emil Cuello lead the offense with 1 Assist, 2 shots on target, 2 chances created and a 95.5% passing accuracy
You can add Victor “PC” Giro to the Injury List, second time this season PC has gone down with what appeared to be a hamstring injury. No word on return.
Next match for San Antonio FC (2-2-1) is away at Colorado Springs against the Switchbacks (1-0-2) in their new stadium, Weidner Field.