EDINBURG – Old habits die hard and San Antonio FC learned that the hard way after giving up a late goal in a 1-1 draw with the Rio Grande Valley FC Toros at H-E-B Park on Sunday night.
The match was the first for SAFC since their season-opening win on March 7 prior to the USL Championship suspending play amid the coronavirus pandemic. The game was originally scheduled for Friday but was postponed after a member of the RGV organization tested positive for COVID 19.
“Guys were excited just to get back on the field today,” SAFC midfielder Connor Maloney said. “We showed well up until the last minute. You have to play the game out. It’s unfortunate, but we go away with a tie and we have to be ready to play them next week. I wanted to win today, every guy in the locker room wanted to win today, but it’s not how it panned out today. We will work on it and get back to it on Saturday.”
SAFC opened the scoring early when Luis Solignac headed the ball to Cristian Parano, who slotted it past RGV goalkeeper Paul Blanchette to put the visiting side up a goal just three minutes in.
The goal was the first of the season for Parano and his eighth overall with the club. He used his signature speed and skills with the ball to break free, making him a big threat for defenders.
“We are happy for Cristian,” SAFC Head Coach Alen Marcina said. “Prior to the hiatus, he wasn’t available for game number one so to have him back now is a big boost for the team. He scored a nice goal for us and worked both ends of the ball well and we expect even more from him moving forward.”
San Antonio would hold the 1-0 lead into the second half despite more aggressive play from the Toros. Midfielder Taiberson hit the post twice and forced SAFC goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair to make two big saves.
In stoppage time, RGV forced three consecutive corners. One of those led to the equalizer as Taiberson curled the ball from outside the box past St. Clair to make it 1-1, giving RGV their first point of the season.
SAFC is likely to be disappointed after being just two minutes away from securing all three points and taking first place in Group D. However, their old habits of giving up late goals still seems to be a lingering issue.
“We will be relentless in our preparation,” Marcina said. “We will have our strategies in place and guys will be prepared to execute those strategies to the best of their ability next week.”
San Antonio FC is now 1-0-1 (4 points) on the season and will return to the pitch next Saturday when they welcome RGV FC (0-2-1) to Toyota Field at 8 p.m.