AUSTIN, TX– San Antonio FC opened a three-week road trip in Austin on Saturday night and defeated the Austin Bold FC 3-0 at Bold Stadium to rebound from a loss to El Paso on Wednesday.
The victory is the third victory in the last four matches and the third in the last fifth for San Antonio, who moved into a three-way tie on points with Colorado Springs Switchback FC and New Mexico United for third place in the Mountain Division.
“I’m incredibly proud of the guys,” said SAFC Head Coach Alen Marcina. “Austin Bold is among the league leaders in clean sheets, they’re very organized, especially defensively, so to score three goals is a fantastic feeling. It’s a well-earned three points, and now it’s about recovery and on to our next opponent.”
SAFC began the game on the attack and put several shots on the Austin net. Emil Cuello was taken down inside the box by an Austin defender, forcing the official into calling a penalty kick. Cuello stepped up and drilled home the PK to put San Antonio ahead by a goal in the 30th minute.
Austin came out on the front foot in the second half and SAFC goalkeeper Matt Cardone was up to the challenge. Bold’s Sean Okoli fired on target with a narrow shot but the goalkeeper made the stop. Overall, Cardone earned his third clean sheet of the season and made five saves in the winning effort.
San Antonio added to their lead in the 69th minute after they were awarded another penalty and this time, Nathan calmly put the ball into the back of the net for the two-goal advantage for SAFC.
SAFC finalized the scoring when Nathan found Jose Gallegos, who slotted the ball past the keeper for his second goal of the season and the fifth of his career.
Here are three points from SAFC’s win over Austin on Saturday:
It’s all about the process
There’s no denying that Nathan has had a tough start in finding his footing after playing overseas. It has been a learning process for him but these last few matches have shown what the coaching staff saw in him when they brought him aboard.
He has tallied four goals in his last four league matches, including posting a goal and assist in 78 minutes on Saturday.
“Nathan’s been fantastic,” Marcina said. “There was a transition period for him to get used to the game here in the U.S. but that transition has been quick for him. We’re incredibly proud of him and hopefully, his scoring streak can continue.”
Staying the course
When the club went through their franchise-record seven-game winless streak, they did not lose confidence. They stayed the course and as a result, they are now in a three-way tie for third place in the division.
“I think the resilience of this group is incredible,” Marcina said. “We’ve had to face a number of challenges and adversity, and the guys remain confident, on the front foot, and give their all. I’m incredibly proud of the collective.”
Saturday’s match opened a three-week road trip for San Antonio, who will go through the most grueling set of their 2021 schedule this month. However, starting off with a 3-0 win against your in-state rivals is not a bad way to start.
“This is a big win for the team,” Cuello said. “3-0 on the road against a great team. It’s huge for us and it gives us a lot of confidence as we head into the next few matches.”
San Antonio FC is now 5-4-6 (21 points) on the season and will return to the pitch on Wednesday night when they face El Paso Locomotive FC (9-1-4) at 8 PM.