SALT LAKE CITY – San Antonio FC earned a 2-1 win over Western Conference leaders Real Monarchs SLC (17-8-2) at Zions Bank Stadium on Monday night.
The win was the second straight for SAFC, who had lost four straight to begin their two-game road trip. San Antonio will play three of its next four matches on the road beginning next weekend.
For us tonight was about earning the first goal and making sure we stayed defensively sound,” SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell said. “We’re disappointed that we conceded one, but at the same time the response was absolutely fantastic to get another goal quickly.”
San Antonio found the scoreboard in the 31st minute when Ever Guzman headed home a corner kick from SAFC midfielder Lance Laing to put the visiting side up a goal. Guzman’s goal would stand as the lone of the opening 45 minutes.
Real Monarchs found the equalizer in the second half when Konrad Plewa slotted the ball past SAFC goalkeeper Matt Cardone in the 66th minute to level the match at a goal apiece. Laing gave San Antonio the lead two minutes later when he scored on a curling shot and helped SAFC take all three points in the match.
Here is what went good and bad for SAFC on Monday as well as three standout players: Lance Laing, Ever Guzman, and Matt Cardone.
- San Antonio FC got solid play out of Laing and thrust themselves back into the playoff picture.
- SAFC snapped Real Monarchs home winning streak, giving them their first loss inside their brand new stadium.
- Ever Guzman continues to make the most out of his scoring chances.
- Matt Cardone had a solid night in net.
- SAFC started the game off slow and the first half saw the Monarchs control much of the pace of the match.
Three Standout Players:
The Jamaican midfielder continued to impress on Monday night. He tallied a goal and assist for the second consecutive game. He also had two key passes on the night to help his club secure all three points.
Laing has made an impact since the first time he stepped on the pitch on August 25 at Toyota Field. He has brought energy, scoring, and experience SAFC has needed.
“We’re extremely proud of the way the players applied themselves from start to finish tonight,” Powell said. “We spoke about a few things before the game and needed to improve on both sides of the ball, and tonight I think we achieved that goal.”
Guzman got SAFC on the scoreboard in the 31st minute with a header off a corner kick. The goal was the seventh of the season and 11th overall for Guzman since joining the club last season.
Powell and San Antonio will hope that Guzman can get on one of his scoring runs in this final push for the postseason. SAFC has struggled to stay consistent offensively throughout the 2018 season and Guzman could play a big part in helping San Antonio clinch a berth.
The San Antonio native filled in for injured goalkeeper Diego Restrepo and once again came up big to preserve all three points for SAFC.
Cardone had three big saves in the match but none was bigger than his stop in the first half after San Antonio had taken the 1-0 lead. Powell has said his club has two solid goalkeepers and Cardone knows that the team will be need to be focused on all ends with a big matchup this coming weekend.
“The win gives us a little more confidence heading into the next game,” he said. We know what we have to do in the situation we’re in, and we’re going to go up against a talented team, but we’re going to be at home and with our amazing fans, and we know they’ll bring the support and we will play hard for them.”
San Antonio FC is now 11-9-7 (40 points) on the season and will return to the pitch on Saturday night when they welcome in Phoenix Rising FC (15-6-5, 50 points) to Toyota Field at 7:30 p.m. CT.