FRESNO – San Antonio FC earned a point on the road as they played to a 0-0 draw with Fresno FC (2-1-4, 10 points) at Chukchansi Park on Sunday night in the first-ever match between the two clubs.
The home side had the first scoring chance of the match early in the 14th minute when Juan Pablo Caffa’s shot got past SAFC goalkeeper Diego Restrepo and cleared by Ryan Roushandel. Later in the first half saw another shot from Caffa in the 28th minute stopped by Restrepo and Pedro Ribeiro’s shot went wide of the goal.
“Tonight, the guys defended well,” SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell said. “It’s always good when you can earn a clean sheet on the road. We fought and weathered a lot of balls coming into our box, but we dealt with them well. In the end, the guys hung in there and managed to defend well with 10 men to earn the shutout.”
Cesar Elizondo returned to the starting XI for SAFC and nearly made his scoring debut in 2018 when his header went over the crossbar.
Here is what went good and bad for SAFC as well as three standout players: Diego Restrepo, Ryan Roushandel, and Greg Cochrane.
- For the first time this season, SAFC had no injuries to report. This means Stephen McCarthy should see his first action in 2018 possibly Friday night in Las Vegas.
- San Antonio earned a point on the road, which they will be happy with. The draw gives SAFC 6 points through six games, putting them four points out of seventh place.
- Diego Restrepo showed why he won Goalkeeper of the Year in 2017.
- San Antonio earned their second clean sheet of the season.
- Despite earning the point on the road, SAFC is not off to the start everyone thought they’d be after reaching the Western Conference Semifinals a year ago.
- SAFC did not put up a shot on goal until the 53-minute mark of the match. Credit Fresno’s defense but San Antonio looked a tad wonky on the offensive side of the ball.
- San Antonio’s offense continues to struggle, getting shutout for the second consecutive match. Overall, SAFC has scored four goals in their first six matches.
- Kris Tyrpak was sent off with a red card after getting into a fight in the second half. At a minimum, he will miss Friday’s game against Las Vegas.
Three Standout Players:
The reigning Goalkeeper of the Year is the main reason that San Antonio escaped Fresno with a point. Restrepo made two huge saves with just 15 minutes remaining in the match. He made a stop on Caffa’s shot attempt that he punched over the bar and less than a minute later stopped Mickey Daly’s shot attempt.
“We need to win. Our goal is to earn three points on Friday,” Restrepo said. “This league is very competitive and any place you go you’re going to find a tough opponent, but our goal is always to win and we can build towards that by earning clean sheets.”
Restrepo finished with six saves on the night and came up huge for SAFC when he needed to. After giving up three goals last weekend, he earned his second clean sheet of the season.
SAFC’s team captain came up big on the defensive side of the ball, helping his club earn the point. He cleared a shot from Fresno’s Juan Pablo Caffa off the line that got past Restrepo, which looked to be a sure goal for the home side.
Roushandel played well and stayed aggressive when Fresno was in the box threatening to score the ball near the San Antonio goal.
San Antonio’s defensive anchor worked to keep the ball out of the San Antonio end. He had two big clears in the second half and came up big in the final scramble near Restrepo during stoppage time.
There is no doubt that defense is the reason SAFC came away with a point. What started off slowly turned into the defense that earned San Antonio top honors last season. SAFC will need to be consistent on for all 90 minutes if they want to start racking up the wins beginning on Friday.
San Antonio FC is now 1-2-3 (6 points) on the season and will return to the pitch on Friday night when they travel to Las Vegas to face the Las Vegas Lights (2-0-2, 8 points) at 10 p.m. CDT at Cashman Field.