PORTLAND – With their playoff lives on the line, San Antonio FC earned a huge 4-3 win over Portland Timbers 2 at Providence Park on Friday night in the penultimate match of the regular season.
The win puts San Antonio in ninth place with one match remaining in the regular season. It also gives SAFC the right to fight for a playoff berth next weekend in the season finale.
“We’ve been talking the last couple of weeks and every game at this point is like a playoff match, and tonight was no different,” SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell said. “Next Saturday will be massive because currently we’re in a playoff spot and we want to secure that with our loud and loyal supporters in our own stadium.”
San Antonio opened the scoring early midfielder Cristian Parano found Ever Guzman, who slotted the ball past goalkeeper Aljaz Ivacic, putting the visitors up a goal in the eighth minute. Guzman added a second goal just four minutes later to give SAFC the 2-0 lead.
The hosts responded in the 25th minute with a free-kick off the boot of Cristian Ojeda. SAFC answered back just before halftime when midfielder Walter Restrepo found Brian Gomez running into the box as the Argentinian put home the ball near the far post, giving San Antonio a 3-1 lead going into the second half.
Guzman made SAFC history in the 67th minute when he took a pass from Restrepo and buried it for his third goal of the game. Guzman’s hat-trick would be the first in team history.
“I’m very happy,” Guzman said. “It comes down to hard work by everybody and I was lucky enough to finish the chances. This is the second hat trick I’ve ever scored and it’ll always be special to score one.”
In the last 15 minutes, Portland added two more goals but were unable to secure the equalizer. San Antonio will now have a chance to clinch a playoff berth next weekend with a win.
“This was an important win on the road that keeps us in the playoff race,” Guzman said. “We’re working hard and we have one game left, so hopefully, we can get the results we need and keep playing at a high level to go into the playoffs.”
San Antonio FC is now 12-13-8 on the season and will return to the pitch next Saturday for their regular season finale against the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC (7-20-5) at 7:30 pm at Toyota Field.