SANDY, UT – San Antonio FC kept their hopes of grabbing the top spot in the Western Conference in tact with a 2-1 come from behind win over Real Monarchs SLC in front of 3,376 fans at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday night.
The victory keeps SAFC within striking distance of league-leading Real Monarchs to possibly grab the top spot in the Western Conference with eight matches to play. The victory saw San Antonio move just seven points behind Real for the top spot.
“It was a very tight game from the first minute to the last minute,” SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell said. “I’m very proud of our players for their performance tonight, their determination and desire to keep on going. As a coach that’s all you can ask for.”
After a scoreless first half, the home side struck in the second 45. Monarchs midfielder Sebastian Saucedo dribbled the ball in the box before shooting it past SAFC goalkeeper Diego Restrepo in the 55th minute to make it 1-0.
The score was bad news for San Antonio for a number of reasons. First, Real would clinch a playoff berth with a win and with other matches results in, a loss would drop SAFC from second to fourth place. With SAFC facing a one goal deficit and time ticking away, the Silver and Black dug deep.
San Antonio found the equalizer in the 88th minute by forcing an own goal as SAFC’s Mike Seth and Real’s Taylor Peay battled for a header. Peay would knock the ball into his own goal, drawing the visitors level with time ticking away.
Stephen McCarthy sealed the win for San Antonio when he headed home the go-ahead goal in stoppage time off a set piece from Michael Reed.
“I saw the ball coming in from Reed and I just thought that I needed to head it down and try to get it into the net,” McCarthy said of his goal.
San Antonio’s win combined with Reno’s 3-0 win over Orange County SC reduces SAFC’s ‘magic number’ to clinch a playoff berth to eight. SAFC won their second straight match and after weeks of giving up late goals, their bad luck turned into good luck for the Alamo City boys.
“Our guys were smart at times in terms of fouls, and I think the commitment to get forward and drive and attack is something that had also been challenge,” Reed said. “We can take some lessons from this, but the big one is that we stepped up and executed.”
- Match notes: San Antonio’s 2-1 win is the first comeback win for SAFC all season. The victory ensures SAFC has beaten every Western Conference opponent with the exception of OKC Energy. San Antonio is now 7-2-2 on the road and won their first road match since July 29 at Phoenix.
Up next: San Antonio FC is now 13-2-9 (48 points) on the season and will continue their road trip next Saturday when they travel to Los Angeles to face LA Galaxy II at the Stubhub Center at 9:30 p.m.