SAN ANTONIO – The math was simple for San Antonio FC in their final regular season game: win and clinch the two-seed in the West standings. From the first whistle, it became clear they would not go down easy.
Ever Guzman scored two goals as San Antonio FC earned a 3-1 win over the Rio Grande Valley Toros in front of 7,604 fans at Toyota Field on Saturday night.
The win ensured SAFC clinched the number two seed in the Western Conference table and would have home field advantage until the Western Conference Finals should Real Monarchs SLC not get eliminated.
“We’re extremely excited to host (a playoff match) at Toyota Field,” SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell said. “Our fans have been fantastic all year. They get behind the team, and that gives extra motivation for our guys to deliver good performances.”
San Antonio opened the scoring in the 29th minute when midfielder Billy Forbes took advantage of RGV FC goalkeeper Calle Brown’s mistake of coming out of his net to play the ball. Forbes buried the shot into the open net to put SAFC up a goal. Four minutes later, SAFC added to their lead when Guzman took a pass from midfielder Omar Gordon, burying the low cross to put the home squad up two going into the second half.
Rio Grande Valley came out of the locker room aggressive on the ball to start the second half and it paid off. Eric Bird beat San Antonio goalkeeper Diego Restrepo in the 47th minute with a shot to cut SAFC’s deficit to one.
Guzman left no doubt of San Antonio’s chances of clinching their seeding as he sealed the win with his second goal of the match, a 25-yard shot, to give SAFC the 3-1 lead and ultimately the win.
“This win is a big win, it’s important,” Forbes said. “It gives us momentum headed into playoffs. I think Ever works hard. He runs everywhere. So with that being said, a player like me is going to try to pick him up every time I get the chance. I think with the space and the way he works up top, it really worked great.”
San Antonio will now host their first ever playoff match in franchise history. They’ll get to do it at Toyota Field where they finished the regular season with just one loss, with credit going to the SAFC faithful supporters.
“The fans here are tremendous, it’s really like a twelfth man sometimes, so we really enjoy playing here,” SAFC defender Greg Cochrane said. “This is where we’re comfortable. If we can use that to our advantage, then we’ll try to ride that as long as we can.”
- Match notes: Billy Forbes’ goal was his tenth of the season, putting him as the leading goal scorer in franchise history. Guzman scored his fourth goal of the season and did so in three straight matches.
Up next: San Antonio FC will now return to the field next Saturday when they open up the Western Conference Quarterfinals against either the Tulsa Roughnecks, OKC Energy, or Sacramento Republic FC. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.