RENO – Despite a second-half push, San Antonio FC fell 1-2 to Reno 1868 FC at Greater Nevada Field on Saturday night, ending their unbeaten streak at five matches.
The loss sees SAFC lose for the first time since April 14 and ends their point streak. In five matches, San Antonio had collected nine out of a possible 15 points.
“Coming away from home is always tough,” SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell said. “We would’ve liked to do better tonight, but the team worked hard and fought all the way through, and the effort from the players was evident. We just need to learn to capitalize on our chances.”
Both clubs came out strong with shots being fired on both nets. SAFC had two solid chances from Jose Escalante but he was denied twice by Reno goalkeeper J.T. Marcinkowski in the opening 10 minutes of play. The home side would take the lead when Jerry van Ewijk scored with a shot to the low right corner of the net in the 39th minute, putting Reno up 1-0 going into the second half.
The second half saw a push from San Antonio and just two minutes into the second 45 minutes of play, they would convert. Omar Gordon took advantage of a corner kick and somehow got it past Marcinkowski in the 47th minute to bring the game level.
Reno would take the lead for good in the 61st minute when Mo Thiaw put home a rebound off the shot from van Ewijk past Restrepo. SAFC would not give up as Alex Bruce’s header was just short as it went off the crossbar and Gordon’s shot attempt in the 80th minute was wide.
Here is what went good and bad for San Antonio FC, as well as three standout players: Diego Restrepo, Omar Gordon, and Jose Escalante.
- San Antonio FC created chances and definitely had several opportunities to take all three points on Saturday night. While the club has not scored multiple goals in nearly a month, the offense does seem to be clicking and developing key chemistry.
- Omar Gordon continued his hot play, more on that in a moment.
- SAFC’s defense was solid the first two seasons but has struggled in season three. Saturday night saw the club give up 19 shots on goal and a season-high seven shots on target. San Antonio’s defense has struggled particularly dealing with the Reno attack and looked very shaky all night long.
- Despite SAFC’s offensive chemistry, the goals just have not come. San Antonio has not had a multiple-goal game since May 5, when they defeated Fresno FC 2-1 at Toyota Field. Since then, they have scored just two goals in three matches and averaged 0.6 goals in the last three matches.
- The loss sees SAFC’s undefeated streak end at five matches. San Antonio dropped to ninth the Western Conference and seven points out of the top four in the West table.
Three Standout Players:
Once again, the reigning Goalkeeper of the Year continued his solid play, particularly in the first half. He punched away some Reno chances in the first half as the home side came out aggressive on the attack from the opening whistle.
In the second half following Gordon’s goal, Restrepo made another huge save in the 56th minute to keep the match level at one goal apiece. There is no doubt SAFC would likely be in a worse position in the table if it was not for Restrepo’s efforts in net this season. With a struggling offense and subpar defense, San Antonio can thank their goalkeeper as one of the main reasons they are still within striking distance of the playoff picture.
SAFC got on the board in the second half and once again it was Omar Gordon who got this club back into the match. Gordon would score off a set piece as he let go a corner kick that somehow found its way into the back of the net in the 47thminute.
The goal was the third in the last four matches for Gordon to go along with an assist. Ever since Powell inserted Gordon back into the Starting XI, it is a move that has paid off. SAFC’s attack has looked stronger in the past few weeks and Gordon is one of those main reasons for it.
Now, if he could only transfer some of his fire-power to his teammates.
One of the players starting to click for SAFC is Jose Escalante. He scored a goal earlier in the season and over the past few weeks has gained confidence with his teammates. He has become more aggressive on the San Antonio attack and that was evident on Saturday.
Escalante had two big chances to give San Antonio the early lead in the opening 10 minutes but both shots were stopped by the Reno goalkeeper. If one of those shots would have gone through, SAFC would have been coming home with at least a point.
“We have to get our guys closer to our number nine and play more through the middle,” SAFC Defender Greg Cochrane said. “We’re very dynamic on the outside but we also have players that can present a threat through the middle, so we have to combine the two approaches and if we do so I think we can be a dangerous team moving forward.”
San Antonio FC is now 3-3-5 (14 points) on the season and will return to action next Saturday when they open up a three-match homestand against Portland Timbers 2 (7-3-2, 23 points) at 7:30 p.m. at Toyota Field.