After Ever Guzman’s kick punched San Antonio FC’s ticket into the Western Conference Semifinals, SAFC fans, players, and coaches learned their next opponent in the second round: OKC Energy FC.
Many had an uneasy feeling about facing OKC and some still do, considering the Energy are the only Western Conference team San Antonio FC has yet to beat in franchise history.
So, the question is simple. Is there reason to worry? The answer is yes and no. Let’s take a look beyond the results of the matchup.
Match #1: June 10, 2017 – San Antonio FC at OKC Energy FC (D, 0-0)
The first matchup between the two clubs came back in June at Taft Stadium in Oklahoma City. The two sides would get equal scoring chances, but Diego Restrepo stood tall as he earned his seventh straight clean sheet.
Match #2: July 14, 2017 – OKC Energy at San Antonio FC (D, 1-1)
The second match between the two clubs is what makes me think OKC has a reason to be worried. After a scoreless first half, SAFC converted a goal in the second half off the foot of Billy Forbes. After VAR review, OKC was awarded a penalty kick, which Restrepo saved. However, with two minutes remaining in stoppage time is when things got crazy. San Antonio looked like they had secured two points, but OKC converted a goal after the initial shot when off the crossbar and was saved by Restrepo. SAFC failed to clear the ball, which led to the OKC goal.
The reason this gives me hope you ask? Well, SAFC has the league’s best defense. If not for that failure to clear the ball, San Antonio would have taken all three points in the match. Since that match, SAFC only gave up one late goal in their final 14 matches.
Match #3: August 19, 2017 – San Antonio FC at OKC Energy
The final match of the season came down to another scoreless draw. Forbes had the best scoring chance for SAFC twice in the match, but both opportunities went wide of the net. Restrepo earned yet another clean sheet in the match as both teams picked up a point.
So what’s the point of recapping these games? To show you that SAFC’s record of 0-1-5 is meaningless when it comes to the playoffs. SAFC was a perfect 5-0 against the Tulsa Roughnecks all-time in USL play, but Tulsa was on the verge of a massive upset on Saturday night.
OKC’s only win in against SAFC came back in 2016 at Toyota Field when Colin Bonner headed in a shot past former SAFC goalkeeper Josh Ford in the second half. Since then, SAFC has had a massive improvement to their backline and overall team.
Neither side has ever scored more than one goal against each other, which makes Saturday night look like a defensive minded match.
That match back on July 14 gives me hope for an SAFC win. San Antonio looked like they had finally solved OKC and with a few tweaks might finally grab that first win on Saturday night. If anything, their contest against Tulsa in the Quarterfinals might actually have prepared San Antonio for this match.
Two things are for sure: One, Never count SAFC out of a match. And two, there won’t be a draw when Saturday’s match ends.