SAN ANTONIO – Soccer fans got their first look at the 2020 squad for San Antonio FC as the club fell 2-3 to FC Dallas in a pre-season friendly in front of 4,372 fans at a chilly Toyota Field on Wednesday night.
The first half saw both clubs with limited scoring chances as defense dominated for both sides. This was a welcome sign for new head coach Alen Marcina following two years of defensive struggles for SAFC.
“There were a lot of positives,” Marcina said. “There were a lot of moments in which we made it difficult for a very good FC Dallas team. Our hope was to achieve our tactical and behavioral objectives, and I think the fans saw a taste of our team identity, and hopefully, they’re excited to see what lies ahead.”
After a scoreless first half, San Antonio opened the scoring in the 66th minute. Connor Maloney drilled home a penalty kick after an FC Dallas tackle in the box. Jose Gallegos extended the SAFC to two goals just six minutes later with a beautiful goal off his right foot to the left corner of the net.
From there, it would be all FC Dallas as the visitors scored three goals in the final ten minutes of the match. First, Ricardo Pepi made it 2-1 with a goal from point-blank range and Michael Barrios leveled the match with another goal just minutes later.
FC Dallas took the lead for good in stoppage time as Reto Ziegler’s free-kick found its way past SAFC goalkeeper Dayne St. Claire as the visitors rallied for the win.
Despite the defeat, there were positives from the match and that will now lead to Marcina shaping his system and foundation as San Antonio gets ready to open the 2020 season in a few week’s time with high expectations.
“I think we had a good showing today,” Maloney said. “FC Dallas is a very good team and tonight you saw our man-to-man pressing. We were relentless for 85 minutes and we have a lot to learn, but there were a lot of positives from tonight and we’re going to take that into our next scrimmage and into the season.”
San Antonio FC will now continue preseason play against MLS side Orlando City SC on Friday, Feb. 21