The Final Word: Can’t Win ’em All. SAFC falls to Phoenix at home

San Antonio FC came into this Week 4 match at Toyota Field looking to continue their perfect season. A tall task at hand facing Phoenix Rising and mounting injuries. Phoenix Rising came in struggling giving up seven goals in three matches and just one win.

Phoenix has two former SAFC players on the roster with Darnell King, who was in the starting XI, and Marcus Epps, who came in the 82nd, adding a little more spice to the rivalry.

The match started with Phoenix Rising controlling possession throughout much of the first half. SAFC were playing on their heels with Phoenix attacking the final third. SAFC looked for opportunities to counter, but were few are far between. Jordan Farr made his first start of the 2022 season, after the announcement of Cristian Bonilla’s retirement, and made six saves on the night. Jordan Farr, made some fantastic saves to keep San Antonio FC in it. First big save came just four minutes when a cross on a free kick from Phoenix found Defender Joseph Farrell. Farrell was inside the box and had a excellent header towards the lower left corner of the goal, a diving Jordan Farr was able to punch it clear.

In the 36th minute, Jordan Farr came up big again. After a Connor Maloney foul, the free kick was spotted abut 25 yards and Aodhan Quinn looked to bury a goal in the upper 90 with a powerful kick and surely looked like it was going in, but Jordan Farr once again made a flying save to punch it clear. Both teams went to the locker ties at nil-nil but it was Phoenix with the momentum advantage.

Jordan Farr amazing save in the 36th minute. Photo provided by: SAFC Media

Second half was much the same, SAFC with no sense of an offensive attack, looking disjointed. Defense was playing well, but pressure kept mounting with the Phoenix attacks. The crack finally leaked in the 56th minute and Phoenix scored. Jordan Farr made another amazing save on a shot from Luis Seijas and cleared it to his right but Claudio Repetto was able to get to the ball first and make an difficult angle shot to the back of the net.

Best attempt of the evening for SAFC was a Mitch Taintor header in the 58th minute on a cross from Mohamed Abu. It was the best attack of the night but was to no avail.

Mitch Taintor header in the 56th minute. Photo by Soy SAF

Marcus Epps came in the 82nd minute as a substitute for Greg Hurst and in stoppage time made that ever so familiar run on the left side, getting by a diving Mitch Taintor and cutting inside to score a goal from a tight angle. It was all Phoenix Rising needed as they came out on top 2-0 over the Alamo City Boys.

USL Championship highlights

After Action Report

What went right:

Jordan Farr was on top of his game. Made some amazing USL Save of the Week worthy saves. Kept SAFC in the match, it took two difficult angled goals to get by Farr.

Defense held it owns for much of the match and stayed disciplined throughout; 6 Tackles, 5 Interceptions and 20 clearances on a busy night for the back line three of Mitch Taintor, Fabien Garcia and Cater Manley. They had zero cards issues and just six fouls conceded facing a 21 Shot, 9 Shots on Goal barrage from Phoenix.

USL Academy Agreement signee, Henrik Sakshaug made his USL debut. the 17 year old midfielder came in the 53rd minute to make his debut with the main squad. Took 2 shots, made six pass attempts and blocked two shots on defense.

Henrik Sakshaug makes his debut. Photo by Soy SAF

What went wrong:

Can’t control injuries or when they happen, but two more players went down on injuries and were subbed out. Ates Diouf in the 19th minute and David Loera in the 53rd minute. Diouf fell in front the SAFC bench grabbing his hamstring in pain. Loera also suffered a lower body injury. Justin Dhillon was unavailable due to a lower body injury, Elliot Collier was the lone true striker on the roster.

Offense looked disjointed. It felt like the XI out the pitch for SAFC were playing together for the first time, there was little to no rhythm on the attack Just two shots on goal all night. Zero corner kicks in the first half.

Head Coach Alen Marcina

(On the match result…)

As a collective we were proud, this is coming from the players, that they competed for 97 minutes. It was difficult, having injuries, short bodies, but we competed. We continued to compete for 97 minutes.”

Alen Marcina, prior to kickoff vs PHX. Photo by: Soy SAF

Defender Connor Manley

(On the team’s performance…)

We’ve got to give credit to Phoenix. They’re a great team and played a great game. Obviously its tough right now with injuries, but we have a next man up mentality. That’s all we can do. We don’t make excuses, we only make solutions around here. We’re just going to go out each game and give it our all and whatever it is, we’ll be happy with it because we know we gave it our all.”

Captain Connor. Photo by Soy SAF

What’s next:

A quick turnaround for San Antonio FC. No time to lament the loss as SAFC have their first US Open Cup match since 2019. The US Open Cup match is set for Tuesday, April 5th 7:30 PM at Toyota Field. The Alamo City Boys face semi-professional club DKSC from Dallas, Texas. DKSC plays in the UPSL Premier North Texas Division. DKSC defeated Denton Diablos in the prior round of the US Open Cup.

Here’s more on DKSC on their US Open Cup victory: https://3rddegree.net/diablos-out-as-dksc-marches-on-to-san-antonio

DKSC on Twitter: http://@dkscmens

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