Photo: Darren Abate/USL Championship
SAN ANTONIO (Fwrd Axis) — San Antonio FC coach Alen Marcina has called his club “mentality monsters” over the course of the 2022 season for their resilience while facing adversity. That mantra held true as SAFC rallied to earn a point in a 1-1 draw with LA Galaxy II (9-10-4) at Toyota Field on Saturday night.
The result snaps SAFC’s franchise-high six-game winning streak and capped their shutout streak at four matches. However, the club remains undefeated in their last five matches, going 4-0-1 in the past month.
“We look at it as three games in eight days, two road games … we’re never going to make excuses,” Marcina said. “In the first half, we had the game under control and then given all the adversity, going down [a man] on the red card, but what I’m most proud of is they demonstrated why we call them the mentality monsters.”
The first half saw a back and forth from both clubs with SAFC controlling much of the possession but despite that, the match would remain scoreless after 45 minutes of action.
LA came out strong on the attack in the second half, putting pressure on the San Antonio defense. Things got chippy after a foul from Galaxy’s Carlos Harvey on striker Santiago Patino was called and SAFC lost Patino to a red card, putting them down to 10 men for the final 30-plus minutes. According to the USL Championship play-by-player tracker, Patino’s red card was listed as “foul and abusive language”.
As a result, the visitors took advantage of a chaotic situation and irritated crowd to score the first goal of the match off a set piece. Joshua Drack curled home a free kick in the 87th minute to put LA up a goal, ending San Antonio’s 500-minute shutout streak.
SAFC answered back with 90 seconds remaining in the match when Fabien Garcia sent a ball through that bounced in the box, finding the head of midfielder Shannon Gomez, who put it past the LA Galaxy II goalkeeper to level the match and earn a point for his club.
The goal sparked chaos in the stands as San Antonio fans threw beers and other items on the field, leading to the Galaxy players taunting back. SAFC support staff along with assistant coaches had to step in to de-escalate the situation.
San Antonio defender Connor Maloney spoke to the crowd, going near the LA bench to try and calm the situation.
“If there was something that happened, I just wanted to be the voice of reason, and maybe they would listen to me,” Maloney said.
The result for SAFC sees them reach 50 points, putting them seven points ahead of San Diego for first place in the Western Conference and four points ahead of Louisville City FC for the best record in the USL Championship. And that is all due to resilience after playing three matches in eight days across three different time zones.
“It’s stuck in everybody’s locker. Resilience,” Gomez said. “And it’s one of those things where regardless of any part of the game we fight for every action. We got an opportunity to win the game, not from anything spectacular but just doing the simple things well, and trying to create an opportunity even if it’s five seconds left … I think it just speaks to our identity as a team.”
UP NEXT for San Antonio FC:
San Antonio FC is now 16-3-2 (50 points) on the season and will return to the pitch next Saturday to face San Diego Loyal SC (15-5-4) at 9 p.m.