COLORADO SPRINGS – San Antonio FC earned a point on the road as they battled to a 1-1 draw with the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC (7-8-3) at Weidner Field on Saturday night.
After a two hour delay due to severe weather that saw hail and thunderstorms, we finally got to soccer action. The field conditions made things difficult for both clubs as shots appeared off due to the wetness.
“The guys showed a lot of determination and character to get the point,” SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell said. “The first half was always going to be difficult because we were going into the wind, but we limited their chances. We regrouped at halftime after their goal and the guys came in with great character and determination to get the point.”
SAFC had some good chances as Omar Gordon’s shot was stopped by the Colorado keeper and Connor Presley’s shot was punched away. Colorado had scoring chances off two different set pieces but Diego Restrepo would make the saves.
Late in first-half stoppage time, Restrepo was called for a penalty for coming into contact with Shane Malcolm in the box. The Switchbacks would earn a PK, which Jordan Burt converted to give the home side a 1-0 lead going into the second half.
The second half saw Powell substitute Rafa Castillo in for Kyle Murphy in the 61stminute giving San Antonio an attack of Presley, Gordon, and Castillo. The move would pay off after Colorado was called for the penalty and Rafa stepped up and calmly drilled it, leveling the score 1-1.
Both clubs would try to get the go-ahead goal but the whistle would blow as both sides took home a point.
Here is what went good and bad for SAFC as well as three standout players: Rafa Castillo, Connor Presley, and Omar Gordon.
- SAFC had some decent scoring chances in the first half, with Presley’s shot from point-blank range being stopped by the goalkeeper. You have to wonder if the pitch was in better condition if that would have been a goal.
- Rafa Castillo showed why he’s loved by all SAFC faithful. More on that in a moment.
- San Antonio earned their first point and scored their first goal in Colorado in three tries.
- Despite giving up a penalty, Diego Restrepo made some big saves when his club needed it the most.
- The field conditions were extremely poor after a two-hour delay that saw hail batter the pitch and rain pouring down.
- Rafa Castillo was helped off the field after suffering an injury in the second half. Not the site SAFC fans wanted to see after getting him back into action a few weeks ago.
- If not for Castillo’s second-half PK, Restrepo’s penalty in the first half likely would have cost San Antonio all three points.
Three Standout Players:
The Columbian was inserted into the match in the second half with SAFC down 0-1. Powell had a scoring threat led by Castillo, Gordon, and Presley. And the move worked brilliantly.
Castillo took a penalty kick in the 66thminute and drilled it to level the score 1-1. The goal was his second of the season and first since April 27 in Las Vegas. With the goal, Castillo becomes SAFC’s all-time leading scorer.
In the 2018 season, Castillo has scored two goals and in 59 appearances with the club has 11 total.
The only downside was Castillo went out with an injury late in the second half. Powell and the club will hope that the injury is minor and will not keep him out long.
Despite his penalty costing SAFC a goal in the first half, Diego Restrepo came up big for his club throughout the night.
Restrepo made two big stops in the first half as Colorado was on the attack but he came up big with the stop. Then with the Switchbacks on the set piece chance, he would punch a header attempt out of play.
While the penalty was not Restrepo’s finest moment, he still proved why he is so vital in between net the next week after week for San Antonio.
“It was important that we finished this match with a point,” Restrepo said. “The weather and altitude aren’t a good formula for success and they make it hard to play here, but I’m proud of the boys for not giving up. We would’ve liked to take all three points, but the group did a good job.”
Gordon was once again the driving force behind SAFC’s offense on Saturday. He helped set up several scoring chances and nearly put one home himself.
In the first half, Gordon found Presley for a point blank shot on goal but it was saved by the Colorado goalkeeper. He then had two shots of his own go wide of the net. Overall, Gordon had three of the six shots on target for San Antonio.
When SAFC’s offense is struggling, Gordon proves he can usually be the number to call upon to get things going.
San Antonio FC is now 5-4-6 (21 points) on the season and will return to the pitch on Wednesday night when they welcome OKC Energy FC (5-10-1, 16 points) to Toyota Field at 7:30 p.m. CT