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San Antonio FC went into the match last Saturday evening versus Monterey Bay as heavy favorites. The Alamo City Boys were tied at top of the Western Conference with just one lone loss. Expansion team Monterey Bay is still trying to find their identity, looking for their second win of the season but hoping for at least a draw.
No surprise, San Antonio FC won but was mildly surprising was the fashion in the way SAFC won. All season long, SAFC has battled it out to close victories usually surviving an offensive onslaught by the opposition and the defense preserving a one goal win, with vital tackles and blocks late in the game from the likes of Mitch Taintor and company, or a fantastic save from Jordan Farr. This win was different and a breath of fresh air. No last minute heroics needed on Saturday versus Monterey Bay.
San Antonio FC took control early and scored three goals in the first half. In the second half, SAFC did not let off the pedal and sit back. The Alamo City Boys tacked on three more goals and nearly doubled the entire goal output for the season in one night. SAFC came into the match with just 8 goals on the season through 7 matches. SAFC would score six versus Monterey Bay.
Goals were scored by six different players. Nicky Hernandez, on loan from FC Dallas, had a break out match with one goal and one assist. Hernandez has been an impact player coming in and was vital in the Open Cup victory versus Austin FC.
The real standouts are the defense unit and Jordan Farr keeping out goals and just allowing four goals in eight matches this season. The 2017 SAFC defense is considered the best in club history. During the first 8 matches of the 2017 season, that unit allowed five goals. The 2022 defense unit of SAFC has allowed just four.
Goalkeeper Jordan Farr, has an incredible 90 percent save success rate. Farr is also tied for second in the USL Championship for most Clean Sheets with four. In his first full season with San Antonio FC, Jordan Farr has been named to the USL Championship Team of the Week and Fan Choice USL Save of the Week twice.
The defense as a unit has been stellar, and has remained healthy. Mitch Taintor is putting up USL Defender of the Year numbers with 36 Clearances, 16 Interceptions, 46 Duels Won and 23 Aerial Duels Won. Connor Maloney and Fabien Garcia are putting up some excellent stats as well. Carter Manley and Jassir Khmiri’s numbers up there too as they fill out the defense.
Head Coach Alen Marcina
(On the win…)
“Incredibly proud of the collective, also very thankful to our fans. They were loud all night long, and that helps the players. We ask the players to attack with and without the ball for 90 minutes and they did that. Players entering the game, we ask them to be game changers, they did that. We discussed being first to the ball on set pieces for and against. We were very efficient … and again we attack. We attack with numbers, we were highly effective in the press and made it very difficult for them to connect passes so all in all, just incredibly proud of the collective and it’s nice that that was the biggest win in franchise history.”
Midfielder Nicky Hernandez
(On what led to the largest win in club history…
“Just our mentality from the locker room. I think came out with … we want to be ruthless, we want to show that we’re in first place for a reason. We want to prove everyone wrong but most importantly prove ourselves right. That we deserve to be up here.”
Goalkeeper Jordan Farr
(On whether the club is peaking right now…)
“It’s crazy because we have three guys out still. And some guys still are dealing with the repercussions of that heavy week last week. I could see us really stepping into gear even more so at the perfect time, next week, for the Phoenix, Houston, Miami matchup. I’d like to say that but at the same time I think we have more, to be fair.
San Antonio FC has a challenging stretch ahead this week. With three vital matches all on the road, First up is Phoenix Rising on Saturday May 7th, SAFC is looking to avenge their lone loss at the hand of Phoenix. On Wednesday, the Alamo City Boys travel to Space City in an out of this world US Open Cup Round of 32 match versus MLS side Houston Dynamo. San Antonio FC then take a trip to The Sunshine State to face The Miami FC for the first time ever the following Saturday May 14th. SAFC returns home on May 21 to a potential epic showdown with Colorado Springs Switchbacks for the top of the USL Western Conference.