SAN ANTONIO — San Antonio FC took on the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) FC Toros for the second time in their regular season on May 27 at Toyota Field where the game ended in a 1-1 draw.
In the first match-up against RGV on May 16, SAFC fell short in a 2-1 loss in which the Toros dominated the game in almost every aspect. SAFC was out-possessed, out intercepted, and outscored. However, when the Toros came to San Antonio for the second meeting between the two teams, SAFC did not allow them to go home with three points.
San Antonio was out possessed by the Toros 65.1% to 34.9% in the first meeting nearly three weeks ago. In their second meeting on Saturday, SAFC improved their possession by 13.4%, almost bringing the match’s possession rate to a draw between the two sides. SAFC also beat their highest possession percentage in this game with a new high of 48.3%.
SAFC was also out intercepted by RGV 17-9 in Edinburg on May 16 but on Saturday, San Antonio was again almost able to bring this statistic to an even tie as they fell short by a single interception at 20-19.
One thing that SAFC was able to bring to a draw within their second match-up against the Toros was the scoreline. RGV hosted the first match in H-E-B Park which gave them the home-field advantage as they overcame a late push by San Antonio and earned the 2-1 win. The Toros struck twice as they mounted a 2-0 lead over the visiting side. SAFC did not add to the scoreline until the 68th minute with a goal from Santiago Patiño, who was also the first player in the USL Championship to score on RGV this season.
Saturday night saw SAFC have a home-field advantage against the Toros at Toyota Field, where they have not lost since 2019. This time San Antonio struck first as Marcus Epps slotted one past Toros goalkeeper Tyler Deric in the 40th minute. SAFC held on strong for the majority of the game and nearly secured all three points. However, after going down a man in the remaining ten minutes of the game, the dynamic changed. In the 89th minute, RGV midfielder Juan Azócar scored off a bicycle kick which brought the scoreline to a 1-1 draw.
“We created more than enough opportunities to win that game,” said Alen Marcina, SAFC Head Coach, after Saturday’s match. “I don’t know what the count was, but I know it was high. The type of opportunities that we created were high percentage opportunities. We have to be more clinical and put teams away. As a collective, we defended really well. That’s soccer. We remain undefeated at home for the last 17 games.”
If the two matches between the two sides have proven anything, it is that these teams are very evenly matched. A minor mistake cost SAFC a match they should have had all three points in but it may be a blessing in disguise. The club knows they let one get away but will use this as motivation as they embark on their first big road trip of the 2021 season.
“On the road, you can’t control everything, and we talk as a team about controlling what we can control,” Epps said. “Like tonight, going a man down. We can’t control the referee’s decision, but we can control the work we put in and how we approach each minute and each play. You take those lessons into the next game and we build that into our resilience to control the controllable when we play these next away games.”