SAN ANTONIO, TX– San Antonio FC fell 0-1 to their in-state rivals Rio Grande Valley Toros FC in front of 8,125 fans at Toyota Field on Saturday night, a match that featured red cards, yellow cards, and boos from the crowd on several occasions.
The result will no doubt leave a bad taste in the mouths of SAFC fans and players alike as San Antonio missed another chance to get closer to the number one seed in the Western Conference after Real Monarchs earned a point in a draw earlier in the week.
“We had multiple chances to pull ahead, and everybody knows what’s on the line,” SAFC midfielder Kris Tyrpak said. “We’re in the playoffs, but we’re not happy with just that. We want more, we want to get to first (place in the standings).”
After suffering their worst loss of the season, SAFC came out aggressive, getting inside the RGV box in the first eight minutes of action. Tyrpak fed forward Ever Guzman, but his header went wide of the net in the 12th minute.
Just five minutes later, the visitors capitalized on what was a missed call by the officials. Rio Grande Valley scored the game-winner in the 17th minute when midfielder Jose Escalante beat SAFC goalkeeper Diego Restrepo from the corner of the net, despite a hand ball from RGV defender Justin Bilyeu.
Minutes later Toyota Field would erupt in boos after SAFC defender Ben Newnam was pulled down from behind by Escalante, which caused Newnam to kick Escalante in the back of the head. Officials gave Newnam the red card, ending his night early.
Official Michael Radchuk heard the boos from the crowd all night long as he missed calls on both sides of the ball, some of them rather obvious to the 8,000-plus crowd. The result was SAFC’s first home loss since September 2016 and their first losing streak of the season.
“You have to adjust to it and it’s very difficult,” SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell said of the early RGV goal. “These guys are very passionate about playing for this club and this city, the players really care, and we can see that. You see their passion, but what you also see is an opposition that wants to do well. That’s part of the game.”
San Antonio FC were winners in one category on Saturday night. The club raised $100,477.13 for the Hurricane Relief Fund for the victims of Hurricane Harvey.
“There was a fantastic turnout tonight and I’d also like to commend our fans for their kind hearts tonight,” Powell said. “They raised over $100,000 for Hurricane Harvey (relief efforts) and that’s something that they should be very proud of. We faced adversity tonight, but there are far more that have faced far more adversity and are in a time of need, and I’m glad the people and fans of San Antonio have been able to support a cause that is close to all of us in Texas and very close to everybody in there was touched by that.”
- Match notes: SAFC fell at home for the first time in the 2017 season and the first time since a 1-3 loss to St. Louis FC on September 10, 2016. Newnam’s red card in the 20th minute was just the third San Antonio player all season to get a red. San Antonio is 1-1-0 against RGV this season, the two teams will meet for the final time in the regular season finale in October.
Up next: San Antonio FC is now 14-4-10 on the season and will return to the pitch next Saturday when they travel to Tulsa for their final road game of the 2017 regular season at 7:30 p.m.
I’ve been to all the home games and there have been some that were officiated poorly but last night’s was by far the worst.