San Antonio FC rebounded from their first loss of the season and earned a point in a 1-1 draw with Sacramento Republic FC at Papa Murphy’s Park on Saturday night.
Sacramento dominated the match early and got on the scoreboard in the 19th minute when Emrah Klimenta got on the end of the ball and put a shot past SAFC goalkeeper Lee Johnston to give the home side a one goal advantage.
SAFC leveled the match in the 29th minute when midfielder Kris Tyrpak found AJ Ajeakwa, who slotted the ball in the right post to beat Sacramento goalkeeper Evan Newton to make it 1-1. The goal was the third of the season for Ajeakwa.
The second half saw both sides battle to get the go-ahead tally, but both goalkeepers held strong and to earn a point for their team.
“I’m very proud of our players for their effort and performance,” SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell said. “We didn’t get off to the best start this evening, but the response of our players was fantastic in an unbelievable atmosphere, so I’m proud of their attitude.”
Johnston made his first professional start after Diego Restrepo missed the match due to Red Card suspension. Johnston made three saves and conceded just one goal in 90-plus minutes.
“We all felt Lee did really well,” Powell said. “He came in tonight and made some big saves, and this isn’t an easy environment to come into to make your first professional start. I couldn’t be happier for Lee, I’m very proud of his performance and I know the rest of the guys are proud as well.”
The draw combined with Real Monarchs SLC’s defeat puts San Antonio just three points out of first place. The two clubs will meet twice before the end of the season, which made decided who gets first place in the Western Conference.
Up next: San Antonio FC is now 10-1-5 (35 points) on the season and will return to the pitch next Saturday when they welcome Liga MX side Santos Laguna to Toyota Field for the first international friendly in team history.
SAFC will return to USL play on July 14 against OKC Energy FC at Toyota Field.