The Final Word: Rocky Mountain Rumble

Colorado Springs, Colorado

It was San Antonio FC’s first trip of the season to Colorado and first match ever at Weidner Field, the Switchbacks new state of the art soccer specific stadium located in downtown Colorado Springs. The Switchbacks and the Alamo City Boys had met in the season opener at Toyota Field which went SAFC’s way with a 3-0 win.

San Antonio FC had the odds stacked against them looking for three points against a Switchback squad that is always tough to at home. Injuries to key players and a red card from the previous match against RGVFC forced Alen Marcina to make adjustments to the starting XI for this match. PC was out due to a lower body injury sustained in the last match, as was Jasser Khmiri, Connor Maloney has yet to make his season debut and Emil Cuello sat out due to a red card suspension.

Oliver Wright made his first start of the season in the midfield along with Cam Lindley in the place of PC and Emil Cuello. San Antonio FC came out in an attack minded 3-4-3 formation. San Antonio FC was the first to have an opportunity to score on a free kick from Cam Lindley which found Liam Doyle for a header that found the back of the net but was whistled for offsides. It was the Switchbacks who set the tempo early with attacks and disrupting the back line for SAFC. Just six minutes in, a through ball that got past Doyle and Deplange found Hadji Barry for a Switchbacks goal that came from a difficult angle. San Antonio FC found themselves down early. Rookie Ollie Wright had two key tackles and two key clearances to keep Colorado Springs from extending the lead early. Alen Marinca made his first substitution of the night just 25 minutes in when he replaced Mathieu Deplagne for Axel Sjöberg.

Patiño was booked with a yellow card in the 34th minute on a needless foul from behind on a Switchbacks player. Patiño looked frustrated from lack of offense with SAFC. It was Patiño’s fifth yellow card and would be suspended for the next match at Las Vegas on Friday. Just before half, things got out of control as Patiño was involved in an altercation with two Switchbacks players, with face slaps, punches and head butts thrown among the players. The head referee showed straight red to both Patiño and Michael Edwards for violent conduct. Pending a disciplinary review from the USL, Santiago Patiño may be suspended for several matches, a blow to SAFC’s offense. Patiño is the club’s leading scorer and nominee for USL player of the month.

Second half started as both teams played 10 v 10, it was expected the match would open up and there would be several goals. Although SAFC did not have rhythm during the first half they did a few chances to tie it up. Alen Marcina made some half time adjustments and subbed in Jose Gallegos for Oliver Wright. San Antonio FC battled but looked slow at times defending the right side, where Switchbacks Forward Hadji Barry started most of his attacks from. Matt Cardone made some great saves and the SAFC back line held there own. In the 88th minute, Justin Dhillon who came in the 57th minute scored the equalizer for San Antonio FC. Valera exited with a shoulder injury which left SAFC down to nine men for some time but Valera came back to finish out the match, at that point SAFC had used all available subs. The Alamo City Boys were able to scrap out a draw and steal two points from the Switchbacks and prevented the first win at Weinder Field for the Switchbacks.

It was not a pretty game for San Antonio FC but the objective to at least get the draw on the road and mission accomplished for the Alamo City Boys.

SAFC Head Coach Alen Marcina

(On the match…)

“Obviously Colorado Springs is a strong opponent. Their attackers are extremely dangerous as predicted, but I’m proud of my guys to demonstrate resilient behaviors over the course of the 95 minutes. It was a well-earned point.”

(On Justin Dhillon scoring a goal on his debut…)

“Justin came up big for us. We think all the players that entered the game brought energy and intensity and lifted us up. We created some opportunities and got a well-deserved point.”

(On Joaquin Varela’s performance…)

“We talk a lot about grit and having a warrior mentality. For someone who dislocates their shoulder and puts themselves back in to help the club earn a point on the road shows a lot about his character.”

SAFC Forward Justin Dhillon

(On scoring on his debut…)

“It’s a perfect way to come back. I think the team fought a lot in the game and I think we deserved something from it. Obviously being out six weeks, I couldn’t have asked for any more than to come on and help the team earn a point.” 

(On what he takes from the result…)

“You take the positives you can get. This is our first point on the road. It came with some challenges, but I think the team showed a lot of resilience and I think we can go up from here and take the momentum from the point.”

(On the team mentality within the group…)

“The players in the locker room fight for each other. Next man up if someone is out, next man comes up and shows out. All the guys that came on made a big difference for the team. The guys that stayed on are battling through soreness, altitude, and injuries. To see Varela come off with a shoulder injury and come back to finish the game off to get a point – that’s the mentality you need to become a successful team.”

Disciplinary Summary:

Switchbacks: Yellow Card (Matt Mahoney) 15’

Switchbacks: Yellow Card (Deshane Beckford) 17’

SAFC: Yellow Card (Santiago Patino) 34’

SAFC: Red Card (Santiago Patino) 45’

Switchbacks: Red Card (Michael Edwards) 45’

Switchbacks: Yellow Card (Beverly Makangila) 49’

Injuries

PC (lower body injury) – Out

Jasser Khmiri (lower body injury) – Out

Connor Maloney (lower body injury) – Out

Suspensions

Emil Cuello (red card) – Out

By the Numbers:

San Antonio FC is winless at Colorado Spings all time with a record of 0 wins, 2 Draws and 3 Losses.

San Antonio FC had 7 block shots on the night.

Nathan lead the team in passing with 87.5% passing accuracy.

Joaquín Valera lead the defense with 7 tackles, 6 Clearances, 4 Interceptions and 1 Block Shot

Up Next:

San Antonio FC is now 2-3-1 with 9 points and head to Las Vegas to face the Lights on June 11th.

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