SAN ANTONIO- San Antonio FC concluded a two-game homestand and hosted El Paso Locomotive FC (8-1-4) Wednesday night at Toyota Field, where they fell short 2-1.
At first glance, El Paso was on a tear in the offense as they pressed San Antonio from the first whistle. They held this pressure until they finally broke through off a penalty kick in the 18th minute. El Paso was awarded the penalty due to a handball in the box on SAFC. Although the initial goal was taken back for infringement and the kick was retaken, Luis Solignac finished the opportunity for El Paso and they took the lead 1-0.
With as many as five yellow cards being distributed in the first half alone, the stop-and-go play killed El Paso’s momentum, giving San Antonio the chance to turn the game around.
Despite the opportunity, San Antonio failed to take advantage of the situation. SAFC began to apply more pressure as the half went on, earning themselves chance after chance. However, SAFC’s famous Achilles heel shined through as they were unable to put away these opportunities.
“We did more than enough to win this game,” said SAFC Head Coach Alen Marcina. “Early on we created some clear-cut chances that we have to execute, and if we put away those chances it’s a different game. The guys pressed very well, particularly in the first half. Some calls definitely didn’t go our way and that’s disappointing to see, but that’s soccer. Our guys performed well, we weren’t clinical enough but now all we can do is reflect, learn and grow.”
The first half ended with El Paso in the lead and San Antonio looking to level the score.
As the second half went underway both sides initially sat back. However, it did not take long for El Paso to find their momentum again as they doubled their score in the 71st minute with a goal from Diego Luna. Only two minutes later, defender Axel Sjoberg finished off a free kick from Cam Lindley making the game 2-1. Sjoberg was strong for San Antonio as he limited El Paso’s chances in the back. He contributed three clearances and five possessions gained for the match. Not only was he strong defensively but he was also the one player to keep SAFC from being shut out in this match.
“We created enough chances to win but you have to score in soccer,” said Sjoeberg. “You score one of those and maybe we win, but that’s the game.”
SAFC fought their way as they tried to find the equalizer but as the final whistle blew they found themselves unsuccessful in a 2-1 loss.
The defeat for San Antonio snaps a two-game winning streak as they fell to sixth place in the Mountain Division standings with a three-week road trip on the horizon.
San Antonio FC (4-4-6) now prepares for a game on the road as they take on Austin Bold FC (5-3-5) Saturday, July 31 at 8 PM.