Toyota Field – San Antonio FC played to a 1-1 draw in regulation time with Club Santos Laguna in front of a sellout crowd of 8,007 fans at Toyota Field on Saturday night. The match was the first ever international friendly in club history for SAFC.
San Antonio opened the scoring early when midfielder Billy Forbes put a low shot on net, beating the Santos goalkeeper in the 18th minute to put the home side up early. It marked the first time in over a month that Forbes got on the score sheet, he currently leads the club with six goals and four assists.
Santos leveled the score after halftime. Emiliano Armentaros took a pass from Oscar Manzanarez and beat SAFC keeper Diego Restrepo to make it 1-1 in the 68th minute. The game would remain even after 90-plus minutes and would go to penalty kicks. Santos would win the shootout 4-3 and the match.
“It’s a different type of game, the players adapted very well to that,” SAFC Assistant Coach Andy Thomson said. “We missed (Head Coach) Darren Powell tonight, but at the same time we learned something about ourselves. We learned a little bit about our opponent, and a match like this helps because when we go back to USL action, nobody is going to hand us three points, no one is even going to hand us one.”
SAFC will now enter the second half of the season with a target on their back. They currently own the second best record in the Western Conference with just one loss on the season. However, they can use something from the match with Santos for the future.
“I think first of all, collectively, we can take a lot from this,” Restrepo said. “Playing compact like we did tonight throughout every game in the USL will make us even tougher to beat. We have a great team and we have to bring that intensity to every game, and I think we’ll be alright in the league.”
Up next: San Antonio FC will now return to USL play on Friday when they welcome OKC Energy FC to Toyota Field at 8 p.m.