SAN ANTONIO (Fwrd Axis) — San Antonio FC made sure Austin FC and its fans remembered the Alamo on Wednesday night as they rallied for a 2-1 come from behind victory over the MLS side in front of a sold-out crowd at Toyota Field.
The victory sees San Antonio advance to the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and earns its biggest win in club history, taking down an MLS side for the first time in Open Cup play.
“It’s a massive moment and it is fantastic that the city of San Antonio gets to share this moment,” SAFC Head Coach Alen Marcina said. It feels great, and I am just so proud of the players. They left everything out on the field We’re incredibly thankful. All in all a special night that we’ll all remember forever.
After a scoreless first half, Austin got their visiting fans cheering when Diego Fagundez took the pass from Sebastian Driussi and beat SAFC goalkeeper Jordan Farr with a shot to the center of the net, putting Verde up a goal in the 47th minute.
The match remained a one-goal game until the 82nd minute when Justin Dhillon found Elliot Collier for a shot to the back of the net to level the score at one goal apiece. San Antonio took their first lead of the night just six minutes into extra-time thanks to a header from Carter Manley off a Mitchell Taintor assist.
SAFC would use their stellar effort on defense for the next 25 minutes and Farr held strong in net as San Antonio earned their biggest win in club history.
“That was incredible we worked so hard for 90 minutes to fight back and bring the game to overtime. Then another 15, with players going down, cramping, just grinding through the end. It was incredible, it was an amazing experience,” Manley said.
From pre-game and throughout the whole match had a special meaning. San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and San Antonio Spurs CEO RC Buford were also in attendance. Given the history between the two cities, including the Alamo City getting shunned in favor of Austin for an MLS team provided extra motivation for the fans.
Possibly for the players too, even if they won’t admit it.
“Austin’s an hour up the road. San Antonio is my favorite city in Texas, I’m sure a lot of guys will say the same thing that it’s home,” SAFC Defender Mitch Taintor said. “I think Austin and San Antonio will always have a rivalry just because of how close they are. But they’re an MLS opponent too so that adds to that, we want to win those games.”
For San Antonio, they will now return back to league play off the back of a big statement win and a warning to future opponents.
“It shows to everyone else what exactly we’re capable of,” Manley said. “We believe highly in ourselves and in our playing style and I think we showed how it can be applied to any team and we can pull out a result against anyone.”
San Antonio FC (5-1-0) will now return to the pitch on Saturday night to face New Mexico United (2-1-2) at 8:00 PM from Rio Grande Credit Union Field at Isotopes Park.