Photo courtesy Darren Abate / San Antonio FC
SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio FC kept its playoff hopes alive with a 2-0 victory against Tulsa Roughnecks FC in front of 6,735 supporters at Toyota Field on Saturday night. SAFC almost took the lead in the seventh minute when Rafael Castillo’s shot from 25 yards came back off the crossbar, while the Roughnecks missed a big chance from the penalty spot when San Antonio goalkeeper Matt Cardone denied Sammy Ochoa in the 12th minute. Both teams threatened in an open game after the fast start, and Castillo hit the woodwork again in the 36th minute as a low shot came back off the right post. San Antonio took the lead off a corner four minutes into the second half as Franck Tayou put home a bicycle kick from close range. Tayou went close to a second just past the hour-mark, only to shoot over from 12 yards off a cross from the left, before Tulsa’s Cristian Mata almost found an equalizer with a header a few minutes later. Tayou again almost scored with a header that went wide from a good cross by Greg Cochrane, but San Antonio put the game to bed with three minutes to go as Shawn Chin scored from 10 yards off Carlos Alvarez’s seventh assist of the season.
49’ – SA – Franck Tayou (Ryan Roushandel)
87’ – SA – Shawn Chin (Carlos Alvarez)
Three Things That Matter:
1. San Antonio needed to take victory on Saturday night to ensure its playoff hopes would remain alive, and while they made it more difficult than it might have needed to be, SAFC will head to South Texas next weekend with a chance to book a place in the postseason. San Antonio could have put the game away far sooner than it did through Shawn Chin’s goal with three minutes remaining, with Rafael Castillo hitting the woodwork twice, and Frank Tayou missing two good chances after giving the side the lead, but all that matters now is next Saturday against the Toros.
2. The game could also have taken a very different turn for San Antonio had the Roughnecks taken advantage of their early chance from the penalty spot, but as he has regularly this season for the side, SAFC goalkeeper Matt Cardone came up big as he denied Sammy Ochoa’s effort to keep the game scoreless. The save was Cardone’s second successive game with a penalty kick save, and provided a massive confidence boost to his teammates in their pursuit of the postseason.
3. Carlos Alvarez was the first signing in San Antonio’s history, and the work that he has done to help the expansion side to be in contention has been as important as anyone’s on the team. On Saturday night, he combined well regularly down the left side with Greg Cochrane, as well as linking up with fellow playmaker Rafael Castillo to break down the Tulsa defense, and was rewarded with a team-high seventh assist late on. With one game to go, Alvarez will be looked at to be the difference-maker next Saturday.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Rafael Castillo, San Antonio FC – Castillo was desperately unlucky not to score at least once on the night, but was strong throughout the game both winning possession and distributing to help SAFC claim victory.
San Antonio FC at Rio Grande Valley FC – Sept. 24, 8:30 p.m. ET, Toro Park
Tulsa Roughnecks FC vs. Swope Park Rangers – Sept. 21, 8:30 p.m. ET, ONEOK Field