EDINBURG — San Antonio FC continued their three-week road trip on Sunday night with a 2-1 win over the Rio Grande Valley FC Toros (8-5-4) at H-E-B Park, collecting a big three points to move back into playoff position.
The victory is the third in the last five games for San Antonio, who moved back into the top four of the playoff race.
“I am incredibly proud of the collective,” said SAFC Head Coach Alen Marcina. “That’s four games in 11 days to show the team’s resilience. That’s something we have preached from day one. To get a result against one of the best teams in our conference makes me incredibly proud.”
San Antonio got on the scoreboard in the 18th minute after midfielder Jose Gallegos was taken down in the penalty area. Nathan stepped up and calmly put home the penalty kick, putting the visitors up a goal.
RGV responded just before halftime when Carlos Azocar received the pass from Adrian Vera and beat San Antonio goalkeeper Matt Cardone with a shot to the top corner of the net, leveling the match at one goal apiece going into the second half.
Both clubs came on strong on the attack in the second half, looking to take the lead. SAFC found their goal in the 58th minute on the counter-attack. Justin Dhillon found a hole in the RGV defense and sent in a ball to Nathan, who slotted it past the goalkeeper, putting San Antonio on top 2-1.
Three points from Sunday’s win in RGV:
Getting back into form
Since going on their seven-game winless streak, San Antonio has seemed to have found their form at the right time. Sunday’s result was the third in the last five matches and fourth in the last six overall with half the season to play.
SAFC also got back into the top four in the Mountain Division and are just four points out of second place RGV FC.
“This is the fourth game in 11 days so you couldn’t ask for much more than the guys gave today,” SAFC defender Connor Maloney said. “We are happy with the result and with how the guys fought until the last second. We take this win and now we are in a good position as we enter the final stretch of the season.”
Peaking at the right time
For Nathan, this season has been one of transition. He started out slow but has really picked up his performance on the pitch, providing a real spark for the San Antonio squad.
With his two goals on Sunday night, he now has seven on the season and has scored seven in his last six matches. His brace is the third of the season and he has more braces than any other SAFC player in club history.
“His commitment on and off the ball and he was very good in his pressing actions and creating opportunities for us,” Marcina said. “It takes a lot of work and he’s committed to doing it and he’s getting rewarded.”
San Antonio has played four games in the last 11 days and has come away with a 2-2-0 record to show for it. They will now get some much-needed rest and recovery before closing out their road trip in New York next weekend.
“The most important thing now is recovery,” Marcina said. “We’ve played a lot of games in a short period of time. We have to do the right thing for the player’s bodies. We will have a full recovery then full focus on New York.”
San Antonio FC is now 6-5-6 (24 points) on the season and will return to the pitch next Saturday to face the New York Red Bulls II (3-9-4) at 6 PM.