Photo courtesy of Josh Jordan / San Antonio FC
SAN ANTONIO, Texas – San Antonio FC’s Akwafei Ajeakwa scored in the opening minutes and the host side defeated Phoenix Rising FC 1-0 on Saturday in front of a crowd of 7,414 at Toyota Field. San Antonio extended its unbeaten campaign to 10 games and is the only club in the USL without a defeat. SAFC also posted its seventh clean sheet of the season. Diego Restrepo needed to make just one save for the shutout. SAFC improves to 8-0-2 (26 points) atop the Western Conference and moved to 4-0-2 at home. Phoenix falls to 3-4-0 (9 points) and is now 0-2-0 on the road.
12’ – SA – Akwafei Ajeakwa (Kris Tyrpak)
Three Things That Mattered:
1. San Antonio struck in the 12th minute, and it was a picture-perfect buildup that started with an interception in midfield. Billy Forbes was the engine as he brought the ball up most of the way, then led Kris Tyrpak toward the right side of the box. As Phoenix scrambled back defensive, Tyrpak spotted Akwafei Ajeakwa who redirected with his left foot for his second score of the season.
2. Phoenix handled the brunt of possession in both halves, but the visiting club wasn’t able to generate much on frame. With only one shot on target in the first half, Rising FC could not make the necessary push to test goalkeeper Diego Restrepo. The absence of Luke Rooney and Alessandro Riggi, both out with knee injuries – Rooney for the remainder of the season – certainly could have played a heavy factor in terms of Phoenix’s demeanor on the pitch. On the flip side, San Antonio had opened the match with three of its first four shots on frame, and SAFC rode that advantage and early lead. San Antonio had ample moments to add to the lead in the second half, including Forbes’ 75th-minute chip that rose over the crossbar.
3. Mark O’Ojong made his debut for SAFC midway through the second half. The midfielder spent the 2016 campaign with Seattle Sounders FC 2, where he appeared in 28 games and recorded two goals and an assist. He was the No. 12 selection in the 2016 USL 20 Under 20 list. On Saturday, O’Ojong replaced Tyrpak in the 75th minute.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:
Pecka, San Antonio FC – With limited scoring, it was SAFC’s midfield play that set the tone against Rising FC. Pecka recorded five tackles, his passing accuracy was well over 80 percent, and sporadically he was able to possess in stretches to keep Phoenix on the move.
San Antonio FC at Swope Park Rangers – May 26, 8:30 p.m. ET, Children’s Mercy Victory Field
Phoenix Rising FC at LA Galaxy II – May 27, 10:30 p.m. ET, StubHub Center Track & Field Stadium