SAN ANTONIO – A goal and an assist from Lance Laing led San Antonio FC to a 3-2 victory over Phoenix Rising FC (16-7-5) in front of 6,785 fans at Toyota Field on Saturday night.
The victory was the third straight for San Antonio and second against a top team in the Western Conference in the span of six days. Overall, SAFC has now won three of its last five matches.
“We’ve had a very difficult week against two great teams, so to see the effort that the team has put in in both games and the good soccer we played has been good to see,” SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell said. “We need to use it as a building block to keep getting better at several different things, but overall the boys fought to the end to grind out (a win).”
The match picked up in the 17th minute when Chris Cortez finished a header off the feed from Solomon Asante to put the visiting team up a goal. San Antonio answered back with a header of their own in the 23rd minute as Cyprian Hedrick put home a corner kick from Laing to level the match at one goal apiece.
San Antonio took the lead over ten minutes later when Ever Guzman scored on a shot that went into the lower left corner of the net, putting SAFC up 2-1. The score would stand as the first half came to an end.
The home side added to their lead five minutes into the second half when Laing converted on a penalty kick, beating Phoenix goalkeeper Zac Lubin with a shot to the right side of the net. Cortez scored his second of the night with just under five minutes to go but San Antonio’s defense would stand tall as they held on for the win.
Here is what went good and bad for SAFC, as well as three standout players: Lance Laing, Ever Guzman, and Cyprian Hedrick.
- Lance Laing continues to impress as he added another goal and an assist to his total since joining SAFC.
- Ever Guzman’s goal was a historic one as he made club history and continues to stay hot in the process.
- Former SAFC striker Billy Forbes was shutout thanks to defenders Greg Cochrane, Cyprian Hedrick, and Darnell King.
- San Antonio showed its resilience as they fought back for the win after going down a goal early.
- The match started slow with both teams missing passes, balls going out of play, and just not good soccer for the first 15 minutes of play.
- A defensive error saw San Antonio concede the first goal, a trend they do not want to get back on.
Three Standout Players:
Laing continues to impress and show how vital he can be if San Antonio does get into the playoffs. Much like Ever Guzman’s contribution in 2017, Laing is proving he can be just that for SAFC in 2018.
He recorded a goal and an assist for the third consecutive match and had the PK that give San Antonio the 3-1 lead, proving its importance.
“I’m very happy to be contributing, but it’s all thanks to my teammates because they’re the reason that it’s happening,” Laing said. “I’m very fortunate to be in San Antonio.”
After having a less than ideal start to the 2018 season, Ever Guzman is starting to pick up his play and Saturday night saw him score a historic goal.
Guzman scored his eighth goal of the season in the first half, making it his eighth goal of the season. It was also his 12th for San Antonio FC, making Guzman the all-time leading scorer in club history.
“Ever knows his role,” Powell said. “He knows how to pick his spot and the way he moves with the ball makes him very difficult for other teams to defend.”
The defender played a key part in SAFC’s win on both ends of the pitch. He leveled the match at one goal apiece after converting on a header off the corner kick from Laing. The goal was the first of Hedrick’s pro career.
But it was his effort on the defensive end that left the most impact. Hedrick, Greg Cochrane, and Darnell King all had a key moment defending striker Billy Forbes and shut him down. Forbes had five shots but none of those were on target in the match.
Hedrick knows that defense will be the key to San Antonio’s playoff push.
To come out here and put in this type of performance to get a win is important,” he said. “Now we have a bit of momentum and we want to keep riding with that, especially this close to playoffs.”
San Antonio FC is now 12-9-7 (43 points) on the season and will return to the pitch next Saturday when they travel to Oklahoma to face Tulsa Roughnecks FC (2-13-11, 17 points) at 7 pm CT.