Two of the league’s best will clash this weekend when San Antonio FC hosts Real Monarchs SLC as the battle for the top spot in the Western Conference table heats up.
The matchup features the league’s best offense in Real Monarchs against the USL’s best defense in SAFC. Despite being near the top of the Western Conference all season long, San Antonio knows they must put together a solid performance on both ends of the pitch to come out victorious.
And they are ready for the challenge.
SAFC was minutes away from a 1-0 win over OKC Energy FC last weekend, but a goal from the visiting side in stoppage time saw San Antonio come away with just a point. A loss like that has San Antonio focusing more than ever on Saturday against Real Monarchs and know the stakes win, lose, or draw.
“We know they [Real Monarchs] are a good team,” SAFC midfielder Devin Vega said. “We’re grateful for the point, but we’ve had this game circled for a while. We know how big this game is.”
SAFC played to a draw with Santos and lost in PKs 4-3. Following the match, San Antonio players and coaches both said they could use what they did in that match for the future in the second half of the season.
“Playing compact like we did tonight throughout every game in the USL will make us even tougher to beat,” SAFC Goalkeeper Diego Restrepo said. “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.”
SAFC knows coming into a matchup like Real Monarchs on Saturday will not be easy, because no one is going to let San Antonio have three points.
“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 assistant coach Andy Thomson said.
And San Antonio is ready for that challenge Saturday night. They have to be.