SAN ANTONIO — Despite being down a man for 60 of the 90-plus minutes played, San Antonio FC (1-0-1) and Real Monarchs SLC (0-0-1) fought to a 2-2 draw at Toyota Field on Saturday night.
The result keeps San Antonio undefeated on the season and keeps their home winning streak in tact at 15 games. The last time SAFC lost at Toyota Field was back in 2019.
“To go down a man so early, our guys showed a lot of resilience,” SAFC Head Coach Alen Marcina said. “We were still creating opportunities, but there were a few little details that cost us. I’m proud of the guys who demonstrated those resilient behaviors.”
SAFC opened the scoring in the 19th minute when Marcus Epps slotted the ball inside the far post past Real Monarchs goalkeeper Jeff Dewsnup off the feed from Cam Lindley to put the home side up 1-0.
San Antonio went down a man in the 30th minute when midfielder Nathan was shown a red card and was ejected for aggressive behavior, leaving SAFC to play down a man for the rest of the match.
San Antonio extended their lead to two goals in the 44th minute when Epps mistimed a shot but it fell on the boot of Emil Cuello, who put home a left-footed shot into the right side of the net.
Real Monarchs began the second half on the attack and their aggressive play was a success as they scored two goals in seven minutes to walk out of Toyota Field with a point.
First, Ibrahim Bance finished off a cross inside the box, beating SAFC goalkeeper Matt Cardone in the 48th minute. Then seven minutes later, midfielder Bode Davis put home a rebound to level the match at two goals apiece.
Three key points from the game:
San Antonio FC started out the match strong and are now 54-7-12 all-time when scoring first in a match. When SAFC got the opening goal from Epps, they were aggressive on the attack and got the second.
Without the ball on defense, San Antonio had a solid first half. They limited the chances Real Monarchs had and the few times the visitors got through into the box, SAFC kept their cool and stayed on task defensively.
Chippy play builds character
SAFC played in what will likely be their first chippy match of the season. As mentioned above, San Antonio midfielder Nathan was ejected in the first half after aggressive behavior and in the 75th minute, Monarchs’ Chris Garcia received his second yellow card of the match, resulting in his ejection.
The game featured players having to be separated by officials, hard fouls, and booing from the crowd over inconsistent calls.
“It was two teams really trying to get the win,” Epps said. “On our side, we were really hungry. It’s tough to play a man down and stay composed through the whole game.”
Home sweet home
The friendly confines of Toyota Field has been kind to San Antonio FC in their history. They own a 42-10-23 record overall and a 15-game home winning streak. The crowd is a massive reason why because despite not being full to capacity due to COVID restrictions, they still make themselves heard.
With that said, the crowd cannot make up for SAFC’s mistakes on the field and that is something Marcina’s club will work on as they get ready to hit the road for the first time in the 2021 season.
“This is an experience we will take with us,” he said. “There were parts we did well and stuff we have to improve on. Win, draw or lose there are always areas we can continue to get better. But there are a lot of things we did well today.”
San Antonio FC is now 1-0-1 (4 points) on the season and will return to the pitch next Sunday evening when they face RGV FC Toros (2-0-0) at 7:30 p.m.