Photo courtesy of San Antonio FC
SAN ANTONIO – Saint Louis FC’s top goal scorer Irvin Herrera notched a hat trick as STLFC went on the road to earn a 3-1 victory against San Antonio FC on Saturday at Toyota Field. Carlos Alvarez scored a first-half goal for San Antonio. Saint Louis has had its road struggles, but the club broke free for a fourth victory away from Fenton, Mo. STLFC is now 8-11-9 (33 points) overall and 4-8-2 on the road. San Antonio was hovering just under the postseason red line, and Saturday’s loss was a massive setback as the host club entered the night trying to challenge the Swope Park Rangers for the eighth spot. San Antonio dropped to 9-10-8 (35 points) overall and 6-4-4 at home.
12’ – STL – Irvin Herrera (Jason Plumhoff)
16’ – STL – Irvin Herrera (Jason Plumhoff)
31’ – SA – Carlos Alvarez (Rafa Castillo)
53’ – STL – Irvin Herrera (Jason Plumhoff)
Three Things That Mattered:
1. Salvadoran Irvin Herrera, fresh off international duty, picked up right where he left off in league play, notching his 12th through 14th goals of the season, also giving Saint Louis the early two-goal advantage on the road. Herrera headed home the first opportunity into the far left of the frame after Jason Plumhoff’s buildup from the right. Plumhoff lofted the ball to Herrera who found a pocket between a pair of San Antonio defenders and struck in the 12th minute. Then four minutes later, from about 15 yards out, received a cross from Plumhoff on the left side and shot left-footed into the right of the frame. Herrera was not well marked on the play and he made San Antonio pay with a 16th-minute tally. Herrera then notched his hat trick in the 53rd minute with a good dribble to his left near the top of the 18, and ripped a shot into the back of the net for his 14th, now one shy of the USL goal-scoring lead.
2. Rafa Castillo normally has been San Antonio’s biggest finisher, but on Saturday his setup work was important in keeping the host side in the match. Castillo played a looping ball ahead of Carlos Alvarez on the left side of the box and after it took a bounce, Alvarez ran onto it and found the inside of the right post to cut Saint Louis’ lead to 2-1 in the 31st minute. It was Alvarez’s fourth goal of the season and Castillo’s second assist.
3. San Antonio had plenty of chances to cause some damage, and STLFC simply did a better job of finishing when the opportunities presented themselves. Probably the most fitting moment to summarize the game from San Antonio’s point of view came in the 77th minute when Franck Tayou found himself within eight yards of the goal and fired left-footed, but just wide left of the frame. He dropped down to his knees, hunched over, with fans’ hands in their faces as the club knew how big of an opportunity this match was in the postseason picture.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:
Irvin Herrera, Saint Louis FC – Herrera set the tone with two goals in the opening 16 minutes and eventually found a third to lead his side to the road victory.
San Antonio FC at Real Monarchs SLC – Sept. 14, 10 p.m. ET, Rio Tinto Stadium
Saint Louis FC vs. Louisville City FC – Sept. 17, 8:30 p.m. ET, World Wide Technology Soccer Park