Photo courtesy Darren Abate / San Antonio FC
SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio FC moved into eighth place in the USL Western Conference with a 1-1 draw against Arizona United SC on Sunday night at Toyota Field. SAFC had a chance early, only for Rafael Castillo’s free kick from 20 yards to go over the crossbar, and in the ninth minute United took the lead as Tyler Blackwood tipped through a pass for Lon Tan to finish. Arizona goalkeeper Carl Woszczynski kept the game level with a great save on a close-range finish by Carlos Alvarez in the 23rd minute, but San Antonio grabbed an equalizer two minutes before the halftime break as Carlos Alvarez put home a first-time shot from Max Gunderson’s low cross from the right. San Antonio goalkeeper Matt Cardone had to make a pair of saves around the hour-mark to keep the game level, and also again late as Arizona’s Sam Garza tried to grab victory with a minute to go. San Antonio also threatened late as Castillo’s long-range shot was saved by Woszczynski, and Shawn Chin sent the rebound high from a tight angle, but honors ended even as San Antonio regained its place in the West’s top eight.
9’ – AZ – Long Tan (Tyler Blackwood)
43’ – SA – Carlos Alvarez (Max Gunderson)
Three Things That Matter:
1. Arizona entered Sunday’s game with more to lose should it fail to take victory, and a 1-1 draw leaves the side four points behind now eighth-place San Antonio with three games to go. The opening goal of the game was another good one from Long Tan, but while the side had chances in the second half, it never quite felt truly on top of its hosts, and as a result wasn’t able to find a decisive late chance to earn victory. Arizona isn’t out of it completely, but two home wins in its next two games look essential to its chances.
2. San Antonio still has yet to take victory this season when conceding the opening goal, but a point out of Sunday night’s game was enough to maintain the side’s solid position in the race for the playoffs. The cliché is that you need to win your home games to be a playoff contender, but San Antonio now sits in eighth place having played either the same or fewer games that the teams below them, and remains in control of its fate with four games to go.
3. Prior to San Antonio’s visit to Saint Louis last weekend, it felt like the side’s five game sequence against teams all in the dogfight for the playoffs would determine the side’s playoff fate. Three games in, SAFC has gone 1-1-1, good enough as it stands for now, but not enough to call the side safe. While Saint Louis visits Toyota Field next Saturday, the following Wednesday’s game on the road against Real Monarchs SLC is starting to now look like the make-or-break point for San Antonio’s playoff hopes.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Carlos Alvarez, San Antonio FC – Alvarez put away a good finish for SAFC’s equalizer, and was active all night in the final third as San Antonio tried to find a winner in the second half.
San Antonio FC vs. Saint Louis FC – Sept. 10, 8:30 p.m. ET, Toyota Field
Arizona United SC vs. Portland Timbers 2 – Sept. 13, 10:30 p.m. ET, Peoria Sports Complex