SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio FC used a second half rally to defeat the Tulsa Roughnecks FC 2-1 in front of 7,019 fans at Toyota Field on Saturday night in their first playoff match in franchise history.
SAFC dominated the majority of the game, despite going down a goal early. San Antonio used their veteran experience, not panicking and letting the game come to them. SAFC scored twice in the second half, but none bigger than Ever Guzman’s penalty kick in stoppage time.
The goal sent a packed Toyota Field into an eruption of cheers.
“When you get a result like that, you can take in the noise and the joy it brings to a lot of people, and for us as a coaching staff, to see the joy on people’s faces when we’ve won and advanced this week (gives us) extra pride, and that’s why we do the job,” SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell said.
Tulsa opened the scoring early in the 23rd minute when midfielder Paris Gee sent a rocket from just outside the box, beating SAFC goalkeeper Diego Restrepo, putting the visitors ahead by a goal. San Antonio thought they had leveled the score off a Stephen McCarthy header, but the goal was disallowed for too much arm use on the play. The Roughnecks’ lead of 1-0 stood going into the second half.
SAFC came out firing in the second 45 as they put pressure on the Tulsa net. Their efforts finally paid off in the 61st minute when Cesar Elizondo redirected Omar Gordon’s shot attempt past Roughnecks goalkeeper Fabian Cerda to finally level the score 1-1.
With time ticking away towards overtime, Tulsa made a fatal error as Billy Forbes was taken down in the box with excessive contact and SAFC was awarded a penalty kick. Guzman stepped up and calmly drilled home the PK in stoppage time, sealing the win for San Antonio.
“It’s a little bit of pressure, but we were trusting what we were doing,” San Antonio forward Cesar Elizondo. “At the end of the day, we were home and I think before the first goal we were controlling the game. We had some chances, and you have to trust what you’re doing. We kept having the ball, having possession and at the end two goals came in.”
The win saw San Antonio advance to the Western Conference Semifinals, but SAFC knows this match showed their resilience and grit.
“This was a good win for us, especially coming from behind,” SAFC defender Greg Cochrane said. “It shows that even if we go behind, we’re going to battle back and push to the last minute.”
- Match notes: SAFC won their first playoff match in franchise history. Stephen McCarthy recorded four clearances, two tackles and two interceptions. Guzman’s game-winning goal was his fifth goal in past four matches.
Up next: San Antonio FC will now host the OKC Energy FC in the Western Conference Semifinals next Saturday at 7:30 p.m. from Toyota Field.