SAN ANTONIO (PSN) — With just four games remaining in the USL Championship season, San Antonio FC scored a big 4-2 victory over Memphis 901 FC (10-9-8) on Sunday night at Toyota Field.
The victory was the third in the last five matches for SAFC, who moved into second place in the Mountain Division standings with Sunday’s win.
“I’m proud of the guys for demonstrating attacking resilience,” said SAFC Head Coach Alen Marcina. “If you look at the first 15 minutes, we were unfortunate not to be up by multiple goals. Then to concede, we needed to keep working and we deservingly scored one back…I’m just incredibly proud of them to maintain and stay resilient because it’s easy to sometimes doubt yourself and they didn’t.”
San Antonio started the match strong on the attack. Two shots went off the crossbar on attempts from Nathan and Marcus Epps before the clock hit 12 minutes.
However, San Antonio’s strong start was not good enough to get them on the scoreboard first. That went to Memphis after Michael Salazar slotted the ball home easily past SAFC goalkeeper Matt Cardone in the 22nd minute, putting the visitors up a goal.
SAFC answered back eight minutes later as Jose Gallegos got to the end of a pass and put home the ball into the center of the net, tying the match 1-1 in the 30th minute.
SAFC took the lead in the second half when Epps weaved his way through the Memphis defense and cut the ball back to Justin Dhillon, who smashed into the net, giving San Antonio the 2-1 lead in the 54th minute.
Nathan provided San Antonio some cushion when he put home SAFC’s third goal of the night The Brazilian would score two more goals in the 66th and 86th minutes respectively to put SAFC up 4-1. Nathan became the third player in SAFC history to hit double-digit goals in a single season behind Billy Forbes and Ever Guzman.
Jasser Khmiri was ejected from the match late and will be suspended for SAFC’s next match. As a result, Kadeem Dacres drilled a penalty for Memphis and finalized the 4-2 score.
Two Key Moments from Sunday’s game vs. Memphis:
San Antonio gave up an early goal but fought back to level it before halftime. Gallegos’ goal was big for SAFC, who have been struggling to get wins at home after their hot start to the season.
SAFC did not settle for going up a goal, instead, they kept the pressure on and got into the Memphis box to get two more goals for a second-half cushion.
“Before the game, we really preached on putting two halves together,” Dhillon said. “We thought that was lacking in El Paso. So, for us, even though we went down a goal, we felt that we were still very dominant offensively. We knew if we kept staying resilient and doing the things, we know we are good at it was going to fall our way. I think we put two halves together, so I am proud of the group.”
Peaking at the right time?
Despite drawing in El Paso on Wednesday, San Antonio seems to be peaking at the right time if they want to be the second seed in the Mountain Division and snag a home game in the playoffs.
With the win, SAFC is now in second place in the USL Championship’s Mountain Division standings with four games remaining. San Antonio has 47 points and Colorado Springs Switchbacks have 45. Both clubs will close out the season against each other.
“I know how valuable home playoff games are. With my previous club [Seattle Sounders] when we won a championship it was a home game,” Dhillon said. “So, I know how advantageous it is, so personally yea we really want to fight for those home games.”
San Antonio FC is now 13-7-8 (47 points) on the season and will return to the pitch on Saturday to face Tulsa FC at 7:30 p.m. from Toyota Field.