SAN ANTONIO (Fwrd Axis) — San Antonio FC kicked off Copa Tejas play on the right foot, defeating the reigning Copa Tejas champions, El Paso Locomotive, 1-0 at Toyota Field on Saturday night.
The win is the second straight for SAFC, who has won five of their first six matches.
San Antonio jumped out of the gate early on the attack and it paid off when Elliot Collier scored his second goal of the season with a shot to the top right corner of the net, putting SAFC up a goal just 11 minutes in.
The second half would see things slow down for both sides as SAFC clamped down defensively and applied pressure offensively to hold on for the one-goal win.
“I’m really proud of the team, of the players, and keep in mind El Paso is a good team,” SAFC Head Coach Alen Marcina said. So to shut them down and also create the amount of opportunities that we did, all in all, a good game.”
Here are three key points from San Antonio’s win over El Paso.
Collier’s hot start
San Antonio FC took a one-goal lead into the second half thanks to the goal from Collier in the 11th minute. The goal marks his third of the season and his second in many games.
𝐖𝐇𝐀𝐓 𝐀 𝐒𝐇𝐎𝐓 🙀@SanAntonioFC strikes first!#SAvELP pic.twitter.com/smwxg5U3BJ
— USL Championship (@USLChampionship) April 17, 2022
With key injuries to San Antonio’s attacking lineup to begin the 2022 season, Collier’s hot start has been a saving grace for the SAFC squad.
Defense stands tall
For the second consecutive week and third time in the season, San Antonio earned a clean sheet. For the season, SAFC is allowing their opponent to score 0.5 goals per game.
Someone said @jordanfarr0's middle name was "Highlight Reel" and they may be right. #Defend210 | #SAvELP | 1-0 pic.twitter.com/2D8WW4U2Me
— San Antonio FC (@SanAntonioFC) April 17, 2022
Goalkeeper Jordan Farr earned his second clean sheet of the season but the San Antonio backline held off any scoring chances from Locomotive late as Farr had a fairly easy second half.
“That’s a huge part of the SAFC way,” Collier said. Everyone defends. We defend together, attack together, win together, lose together.”
Despite San Antonio’s hot start to the season, they seem to be haunted by demons from their past. In their history, SAFC has been plagued by missed chances in their matches, resulting in losses and draws, dropping valuable points in the standings.
Through the first six matches, San Antonio is scoring 1.1 goals per game and has scored only one goal in three of their six matches. While SAFC has bunkered down defensively, missed chances like these could come back to haunt them later in the season.
“I’m not concerned,” SAFC Defender Connor Maloney said of the missed chances. “Eventually those one-goal games will be two, three goals.”
San Antonio FC is now 5-1-0 (15 points) on the season and will take a break from USL Championship play to welcome MLS side Austin FC to Toyota Field on Wednesday night at 8 P.M.
Story updated with player reactions and quotes.