SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio FC continued their hectic stretch of matches with a 1-0 win over Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC (8-11-4) in front of 6,307 fans at Toyota Field on Wednesday night.
The victory comes on the heels of SAFC’s 4-2 win over Real Monarchs SLC on Saturday night and is the second win for the club in their last five matches, where the club has gone 2-1-3.
“We want to make sure we earn momentum and tonight it was important that we followed up on our performance on Saturday night and the guys were very committed to that cause this evening,” SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell said. “They put their bodies on the line and were able to capitalize on the opportunity.”
After a lackluster performance from both teams in the first half, the action picked up in the second 45 minutes. SAFC goalkeeper Matt Cardone responded to the pressure of the Colorado attack and in the 55th minute, the home side found the back of the net.
Darnell King sent in a cross to Kyle Murphy, who headed home the ball into the left side of the net, putting San Antonio up a goal. The tally would be the first for Murphy since signing with the club.
Colorado would push late but Cardone and SAFC’s came up big to get the clean sheet and earn the second straight win for San Antonio.
Here is what went good and bad for San Antonio FC on Wednesday as well as three standout players: Kyle Murphy, Matt Cardone, and Darnell King.
- SAFC scored first in the match, improving to 5-0-1 and 6-0-2 when they get the first goal in a match this season and score in the first half respectively.
- Kyle Murphy netted his first goal in an SAFC kit.
- San Antonio earned a clean sheet, making it their fifth of the season.
- SAFC moved within a point of Fresno FC and with games in hand still remaining could easily move into higher position as the schedule continues to roll on.
- Credit both club’s defense, but neither team could really get anything going offensively in the first half.
Three Standout Players:
The forward netted his first goal in an SAFC kit in the second half when he headed home a pass from Darnell King in the 55th minute. The goal got San Antonio on the scoreboard after a hotly contested first half that saw a majority of play come from the midfield.
“It’s a great feeling,” Murphy said of his first goal. “I’m always happy to get a goal, especially a game winner, but more than anything I’m happy to open my account for the team.”
Powell and SAFC will hope that the tally from Murphy will get him going offensively. With San Antonio’s offense being inconsistent, the club will look to pair someone with Omar Gordon, who has done a majority of the work on that side of the ball thus far.
The Bearded One got the start in place of Diego Restrepo on Wednesday night and showed why San Antonio has a 1-2 punch of goalkeepers.
Despite not seeing any action in the first half, Cardone was busy in the later stages of the second half. He came up with a big save in the 56th minute when he saved an initial Colorado scoring attempt but also got his chest on a rebound attempt.
But Cardone’s biggest saved was in stoppage time when Colorado sent in a shot from 25-yards out and the Bearded One made the stop as he parried the ball away and likely secured all three points for SAFC.
“Now we have some tough decisions to make in goal because we have two solid goalkeepers in net and that has done a lot for this team,” Powell said.
The defender played a massive role on both ends of the pitch for San Antonio on Wednesday night as the home side got even close to getting back into the top eight of the Western Conference Standings.
King assisted on Murphy’s goal in the 55th minute, marking his team-leading fifth of the season. The defender passed well and won several duels on the night as well and had some big clearances.
His performance earned him Man of Match honors as he finished with tallied eight interceptions, two key passes, six clearances, and two tackles.
I’m an offensive-minded defender and sometimes that works in my favor,” King said. “It was good team play; Maxi (Rodriguez) saw me make the run, everybody got in the box and we executed, and that’s what we need to continue doing.”
San Antonio FC is now 7-5-7 (28 points) on the season and will return to the pitch on Saturday night when they travel to Oklahoma City to face OKC Energy FC (6-10-5, 23 points) at Taft Stadium with kickoff set for 7 p.m. CT.