SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio FC continued their point streak as they battled to a 1-1 draw with the Swope Park Rangers (3-1-1, 10 points) in front of 6,612 fans on a chilly Saturday evening at Toyota Field.
The victory saw SAFC’s point streak extended to three games after dropping the season opener in Sacramento. However, San Antonio had some solid scoring chances in the second half that they missed on and looking back would love a second crack at.
“I don’t think either team is thrilled about tonight,” SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell said. “Sometimes you draw a game and it feels like a win, sometimes you draw a game and it feels like a loss, and tonight I think it’s just that in-between where both teams wish they had gotten more out of tonight’s match.”
Swope Park opened the scoring in the 29th minute when Kharlton Belmar received the ball from Colton Storm and beat SAFC goalkeeper Diego Restrepo with a low shot near the back post. San Antonio responded back quickly by taking advantage of a Swope turnover as Pecka fired home his first goal of the season nearly four minutes later.
The second half saw both sides have solid scoring chances but neither could find the equalizer and each club picked up a point.
Here is what went good and bad for SAFC on Saturday as well as three standout players: Pecka, Ever Guzman, and Greg Cochrane.
- SAFC got another point in the standings and the club will feel content with that after giving up the first goal of the game.
- After being nowhere to be found the last few weeks, Ever Guzman finally re-emerged on Saturday. More on that in a moment.
- San Antonio’s defense looked tighter as the second half went on, a much better sign in the past two matches.
- SAFC had the better scoring chances as the second half went on, a possible good sign of things to come for the Red & Black on that side of things.
- Jose Escalante made his SAFC debut
- SAFC’s injury report continues to shrink.
- Despite picking up the point, SAFC has just one win in their first four matches of the season. As of this writing, San Antonio sits 11th in the Western Conference and five points out of the top four.
- After much talk of San Antonio’s offense in the preseason, it has not yet really showed itself early on in 2018. SAFC has scored multiple goals in just one match and has been shutout in one as well.
Three Standout Players:
Midfielder Pecka was not much of a scorer in 2017 for SAFC but he sure scored his first one of 2018, making it count. With San Antonio trailing 0-1 in the 33rd minute, Ever Guzman sent a pass to the midfielder, who fired it home. The goal would preserve a point for the home side.
“The team was feeling a little bit cold and lacking a little bit of spark so there was a bit of a tense moment (after an argument) against the other team for a minute, but then the fans’ energy combined with the team’s built up some momentum that lead to the team scoring a goal,” Pecka said through a translator after the match.
However, he also did work on both sides of the ball as well. Pecka also added seven tackles, passed at an 89.3 percent accuracy, and won 13 of 19 duels. All this awarded him Man of the Match honors. It is likely that SAFC will need the Brazilian to play like this every match as they try to make up some early ground in the Western Conference standings.
After not being too involved in the first three matches of the regular season, Ever Guzman finally made his presence felt on Saturday. He earned the assist on Pecka’s goal, making it the first time he has played a part in a goal this season. In the second half, he had a golden chance to put SAFC up 2-1 in the 60th minute but his shot attempt had too much firepower and went over the crossbar.
However, this may be a sign of the tide starting to change for Guzman. After being the club’s leading scorer in the preseason, he disappeared for the first three matches of the regular season. Now after Saturday’s performance, look for him to possibly start being the focus of the offense and leading by example.
Coach Powell inserted Greg Cochrane into the lineup after he had missed the last match with a lower-body injury. It is a welcome sight for Powell and the SAFC fans who know just how important Cochrane is to the San Antonio defense. As soon as he came in, it was clear that San Antonio was going for the draw.
Cochrane played a key part in helping SAFC get the point as he directed players on the pitch and got guys back into form in the late stages of the match. San Antonio had a few solid chances to score that Cochrane became a part of on the defensive side of the ball to start it off.
San Antonio FC is now (1-1-2, 5 points) on the season and will return to the pitch next Saturday evening when they welcome first-place Orange County SC (3-1-1, 10 points) to Toyota Field at 7:30 pm.