IRVINE, CA (Fwrd Axis) – San Antonio FC rebounded from their first loss of the season last weekend and picked up a 1-0 victory over defending champions Orange County SC at Championship Soccer Stadium on Saturday night.
The victory sees SAFC get right back into the win column, winning four of their last five matches, despite injuries to several key players since the season began last month.
Both clubs went back and forth in the first half as they traded chances but it would remain a scoreless match going into the second half. San Antonio finally broke through in the 60th minute when Eliot Collier finished off a back-post cross from Mitchell Taintor to put SAFC up a goal.
Despite a flurry of chances from Orange County in the final minutes, SAFC would hold on to secure all three points.
“We knew it was going to be a big test, a big challenge. And the guys were up for the challenge,” SAFC Head Coach Alen Marcina said.
Here are three points from San Antonio FC’s victory on Saturday night:
Farr stands tall
The first half saw Orange County get the better of the chances, outshooting SAFC 11-7. San Antonio goalkeeper Jordan Farr stood tall in the net as he made several big stops to keep the match scoreless going into the second half.
Meanwhile, San Antonio had trouble breaking down the Orange County defense, despite putting up seven shots. SAFC could not weave through the OC defense, making it difficult to score in the latter stages of the first half.
Plus some more @jordanfarr0 things 🦶#Defend210 | #OCvSA pic.twitter.com/YhSisDG1xW
— San Antonio FC (@SanAntonioFC) April 10, 2022
The second half was more of the same from Farr, stopping a last-minute barrage by Orange County to secure all three points for his club.
“They performed extremely well, from the opening whistle to the last minute of the game and I’m incredibly proud of the collective,” Marcina said.
An unlikely hero
With injuries to key San Antonio FC players such as Santiago Patino and David Loera, Marcina had to look elsewhere to find a spark in the second half. After a back and forth first half, San Antonio struck at the one-hour mark when Taintor sent a back-post cross towards the net for Collier to finish.
𝘓𝘪𝘵𝘵𝘭𝘦 𝘩𝘦𝘭𝘱 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘰𝘰𝘥𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘬… 🪵
Elliot Collier opens the scoring for @SanAntonioFC! #OCvSA pic.twitter.com/J1dNYeeMyw
— USL Championship (@USLChampionship) April 10, 2022
San Antonio has won four of its first five games without key players and Marcina has to shuffle a thin lineup. Once he gets those players back on the pitch, SAFC could prove to be a big problem for the rest of the Western Conference.
Let’s talk defense
In all five of its matches so far, SAFC has given up an average of 0.8 goals per match, earning clean sheets in two of those. The point? It is hard to score against this San Antonio backline. With Farr in the net and playing at a high level, SAFC has enjoyed a hot start.
Once players get back into shape and healthy, San Antonio soccer fans could be in for a fun summer at Toyota Field.
“That hurt a lot and coming back here, that was one that was marked on the calendar, especially for the guys that were returning. This is one that we all wanted to win,” Taintor said.
San Antonio FC is now 4-1-0 (12 points) on the season and will return to the pitch next Saturday to face El Paso Locomotive (1-4-0) at 7:30 p.m. at Toyota Field.
This story has been updated with player quotes following the match.