SAN ANTONIO, TX – Ryan Roushandel knew how important Wednesday’s match was for his club, San Antonio FC.
And he would not let them lose.
Roushandel’s late second half goal lifted San Antonio FC to a 2-1 win over Portland Timbers 2 in front of 6,069 fans at Toyota Field to lock up a top three seed in the Western Conference Playoffs.
The result was important for SAFC with the Swope Park Rangers winning. A loss or draw would have seen San Antonio go down to fourth place and would have needed to win their final regular season game to ensure a home match. Swope Park beat Seattle earlier in the night.
“We earned three important points tonight which secure a home seed for at least the first round of the playoffs, which is something we set out to do since the beginning of the year,” SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell said. “We’re pleased to accomplish that but we have to continue to improve as we head into the playoffs.”
San Antonio opened the scoring early in the 16th minute as midfielder Billy Forbes found forward Ever Guzman, who put a header past Portland goalkeeper Wade Hamilton to put SAFC up a goal. Portland responded just before halftime with a header of their own as defender Bill Tuiloma beat SAFC keeper Diego Restrepo to draw level 1-1 in the 35th minute.
With their chances at home playoff match ticking away, Roushandel put the fears of the SAFC to rest with his first goal of the season. A shot from Michael Reed was deflected right to Guzman, who found Roushandel inside the box in the 71st minute for the game-winning goal.
“Obviously getting the goal is great, and celebrating with my (SAFC Pro Academy) boys is always fun,” Roushandel said after the match. “That’s pretty much why I still play this game. For us, it’s an important goal, we get the 3 points at home, wipe it off the slate, and get ready for our last game.”
San Antonio can clinch the second seed in the Western Conference and home field advantage until the Western Conference Finals with a win in their season finale against RGV FC. The match comes a year after SAFC failed to clinch a playoff berth in Edinburg a year ago.
“I think with RGV and the history we have with them, the guys are more motivated just to beat RGV,” Reed said.
- Match Notes: The win against Portland guarantees SAFC no worse than third place in the Western Conference standings. Billy Forbes tallied his team-leading eighth assist with Guzman’s goal in the first half.
Up next: San Antonio FC is now 16-4-11 (59 points) on the season and will close out the 2017 regular season against the Rio Grande Valley FC Toros on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. at Toyota Field.