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Why a solid backline will fuel SAFC’s playoff run

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San Antonio FC begins their playoff run this weekend as they look to bring a USL championship to the Alamo City. Their opponent? Tulsa Roughnecks FC, a team they have had much success against in the past.

This season, SAFC was the top defensive team in the league. The result was the fewest losses in the USL and clinching the No. 2 seed in just their second season. This set up a date with the seventh seeded Roughnecks in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.

The talented backline led by Greg Cochrane has SAFC with the league’s best defense. At the end of the regular season, San Antonio led the league in clean sheets with 15 in total. Goalkeeper Diego Restrepo recorded 12 clean sheets in 27 appearances with the club, coming just one shy of tying the league record.


Cochrane is joined by Stephen McCarthy, Sebastien Ibeagha, and Cyprian Hendrick on the backline. Together, they led a defense that saw SAFC suffer just four losses and allow the fewest goals in the league.

Ibeagha recorded 190 clearances and tackled on a 72 percent success rate, to go along with 20 blocks and 55 interceptions. Cochrane recorded 83 clearances and made 86.6 percent of his tales.

With that much talent on the San Antonio defensive side and at Toyota Field, it will make SAFC a tough out in the postseason.

“Obviously, we have a pretty good chemistry with each other,” Cochrane said after Saturday’s win over RGV. “It’s important because even one goal can be the difference between moving on and going home. We know we’re going to have our work cut out for us.”

The backline will be tough to break and that is exactly what SAFC is hoping for this weekend.

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Stephen Michael 26, is a journalist, social media coordinator, host, and entertainment reporter. Michael graduated in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts and earned a Master's Degree in Digital Media in 2020 from the University of the Incarnate Word. He has worked covering the San Antonio Rampage, Stars, and San Antonio Futbol Club. He was the host of the Project Spurs Roundtable on NBC affiliate News 4 San Antonio from 2015-17.

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