San Antonio FC hasn’t played in two weeks but the staff and front office have been busy. Due to some positive cases of Covid-19, SAFC has been unable to play as a safety precaution. There have been some changes to the roster, with some leaving and familiar face returning.
With two weeks off, this gives San Antonio FC some advantages in they were able to heal up and cure some nicks and bruises. Also gave San Antonio FC two weeks to prepare to face El Paso Locomotive, currently the best team in the USL. A foe that San Antonio FC has been unable to get points against.
In the past couple weeks we have seen Ethan Bryant and Emil Cuello go on loan. Ethan Bryant had not logged any minutes in regular season play, seeing some action in a couple friendlies with SAFC. Emil Cuello appeared in 16 matches starting in 10 with 0 goals, 3 assists and a 74.6% percent passing accuracy. Ethan was loan out to USL One side Richmond Kickers and Emil to Sacramento Republic FC.
San Antonio FC received a pair a center backs in return. Kortne Ford came in on loan from MLS Colorado Rapids. Ford made 35 total appearances for the Rapids but has not seen any action since 2018 due to a pair of knee surgeries.
A familiar face returned on loan, Mitch Taintor who played in San Antonio last season returned from Sacramento Republic. Taintor had 13 appearances and nine starts for Sacramento.
Offense Heating Up
San Antonio FC was heating up prior the two week break. Winning 4 of 6 and scoring three goals in three of those victories. Nathan Fogaca took over as goal leader for the club and now has seven. Capping off with a brace from Nathan in the 2-1 victory over Rio Grand Valley. With PC out for some time, hopefully he returns soon and Emil out on loan. But Nathan won’t be able to do it alone, the trio of Gallegos, Epps and Abu have the capability to score and give team options. If Santiago Patino returns, it will further solidify scoring options.
Plugging Up Holes
Connor Maloney return has been part of SAFC’s recent success in the last six matches. SAFC has yet to give up a lot of goal in one match, remaining competitive in every match so far. With the return of Taintor, the defense looks more like the successful defense of last season, it’ll be interesting to see how Alen Marcina uses his defense and lines them up. With such depth, we should see Marcina rotating the starting XI and using more subs to keep the defense fresh, especially with the rescheduling of matches and finding more midweek matches. San Antonio seems to also have remedy giving up late goals in matches, something that plagued them the last three seasons.
What Needs to Happen
This Saturday, El Paso comes into town on top the Copa Tejas and USL tables. While the Locomotive have a sizable lead on the rest of the division and over SAFC. SAFC is just four points out of second place in the division and two matches in hand on the teams above them. With two weeks to rest and prepare, SAFC has the advantage playing them at home. SAFC needs to have a result Saturday evening, preferably three points but even a draw will be a positive result at this point in the season. Taking advantage of Red Bulls II and Real Monarchs on the schedule will help the playoff push.
San Antonio FC should make the playoffs and the objective should be to finish second in the division to avoid Phoenix or El Paso in the first round and at least get one home playoff match.