SAN ANTONIO – After a disastrous second half last week, Cristian Parano was determined to not let his team let another lead slip away. In fact, on Saturday night he made sure of it.
Parano netted two goals as he led San Antonio FC to a dominating 5-0 win over New Mexico United at Toyota Field.
The win is the ninth of the season for SAFC, who is 3-1-2 in their last five matches overall. The victory also moves San Antonio into eighth place in the USL Western Conference and is their 50th win in USL play.
“We approached it slightly different based on what we learned last week as a collective,” SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell said. “The players were adamant at half time that we didn’t let any standards drop in the second half, and we saw that and managed to go on and see the benefits of that.”
San Antonio opened the scoring nearly half an hour into the match. Walter Restrepo found Parano on the right side of the box, who then took out a New Mexico defender before putting the ball inside the left corner of the net, giving SAFC the 1-0 lead in the 28th minute. SAFC doubled their lead nearly 10 minutes later when Parano found forward Brian Gomez, who slotted the ball into the left corner of the net in the 38th minute.
SAFC stayed aggressive in the second half as Parano found Frank Lopez, who buried the shot from the right side of the box, putting the home side up three goals in the 55th minute. San Antonio continued to pour it on ten minutes later when Jack Barmby found Restrepo on the left side of the box, who then put the ball home.
Parano capped off the scoring with a goal in the 89th minute that went off the keeper and into the net.
Three Standout Players:
The 20-year-old continues to light it up offensively, which will only lead to good things for SAFC. Parano got on the board in the 28th minute with a goal to the left corner of the net. That gives him four goals in his last three matches.
He added two assists in the game as he found both Gomez and Lopez for their respective goals.
“I’m thrilled to see my teammates score too, because we’re all improving week by week,” Parano said through a translator. “I hope that we can continue like this. We have another match coming up and we need to focus on that so we can get closer to our objective, which is putting San Antonio as high (in the standings) as we can.”
The striker has been a solid attention since joining the club, sparking the offense. His goal on Saturday night gives him five since joining the club and 11 overall for the season.
He remains one of the main cogs behind the SAFC defense and in a playoff push, that remains key.
The forward has had a nice stretch of matches over the last week and continued that on Saturday night with his goal. Over the last five weeks, he had three assists and a goal.
“We learned our lessons from last week when we were in a similar situation, where we were up by two and had the game under control,” Restrepo said through a translator. “The same situation played out tonight and we had talked about it and discussed it prior, and we knew that we had to stay alert and hang on to the result.”
San Antonio FC is now 9-9-7 (34 points) on the season and will return to the pitch on Friday when they travel to face Tacoma Defiance (4-14-5) at 9 pm Central Time.