IRVINE, CA – San Antonio FC used their signature style defense to earn a 1-0 win over Orange County SC at Champions Soccer Stadium on Wednesday night, clinching its first playoff berth in franchise history.
The result was more positive news for SAFC, who closes out their four-game road series Sunday in Kansas. San Antonio locked up its first-ever playoff berth in franchise history in just their second year of existence. More importantly, SAFC won the game with their hard-nosed defense as they packed the box and did not allow the hosts to get set in their offense.
“I’m very pleased with our players tonight,” SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell said. “We worked very hard and put ourselves in a position to get three points, and we’re pleased to be part of SAFC history by earning a playoff berth. We have a lot of season left to play and we want to continue getting better, and we want to make sure we put on good performances the rest of the season.”
The first half saw few chances, but a very tough defensive match for both clubs. The lone goal of the match came in the 55th minute when SAFC was awarded a free kick. Ben Newnam connected on the long distance kick, beating Orange County goalkeeper Charlie Lyon.
“They always say that if you’re not going to hit the ball towards anybody then at least put it on frame, so that’s what I did and fortunately it skidded into the back of the net,” Newnam said of his game-winning goal.
After not clinching a playoff berth in their inaugural season in 2016, SAFC is now postseason bound with six matches to play. The victory saw San Antonio move within four points of first place Real Monarchs SLC and seven points up on Swope Park Rangers, who sits in fourth place.
“This was one of the first goals we set this year, and this being the first time in club history that we make the playoffs is big time, but we definitely want more,” Newnam said. “We’ve been sitting close to the top of the table all year and we want to continue to make a far run in the playoffs and hopefully have a chance at winning a championship.”
- Match notes: San Antonio FC earned its league-leading eighth road win of the season. With the victory, they improve their record to 8-2-4 away from Toyota Field. SAFC is on a five game undefeated run and has won three of their last five matches (3-0-2). Newnam’s goal was his first in a SAFC kit and first since June 2016.
Up next: San Antonio FC is now 14-2-10 (52 points) on the season and will return to the pitch on Sunday afternoon to wrap up their four game road series against the Swope Park Rangers at 4 p.m.