Photo courtesy LA Galaxy II
CARSON, Calif. – Coming off arguably its biggest win of the season a week ago against league-leaders Real Monarchs SLC, San Antonio FC was distinctly aware of one thing as it walked away from a 1-1 draw against the 13th-place LA Galaxy II.
No matter who the side is going up against down the stretch of the USL regular season, it was going to get a battle.
“Earning points on the road is tough, and especially during road trips,” said SAFC captain Michael Reed. “It’s good that we didn’t lose and that we earned a point; that gets us closer to the top and the competition for the first four spots is fierce right now. It could've been better, but it could’ve also been worse.”
Reed was again the hero for SAFC with an 88th-minute equalizer, his curled free kick from 22 yards picking out the right corner of the net perfectly to leave Los Dos goalkeeper Eric Lopez motionless. After delivering two late set pieces in the club’s victory against the Monarchs a week ago, Reed’s second goal of the season earned a valuable point on a night when both Real and Reno 1868 FC were held to draws.
“I saw a very tall wall and thought the keeper was going to cheat on it, honestly,” said Reed. “I was fortunate enough to get a decent hit on the ball before the ‘keeper saw it, and he just froze and made my life easy.”
San Antonio was put under pressure by a Galaxy II side that was fighting for its playoff life. An early second-half goal by Jean Engola off a corner kick by Alejandro Covarrubias had given the hosts the lead, and Los Dos came close to adding to its advantage in the second half to put the game away. Andre Zanga fired a good chance over the crossbar in the 67th minute, while Jack McBean’s finish to the right corner was turned away well by SAFC goalkeeper Diego Restrepo five minutes later.
Reed’s late finish punished the Galaxy II for their profligacy in front of goal, but with the chance to make ground on the Monarchs and regain second place over Reno missed San Antonio was disappointed not to take away more from the game.
“The positive is that we didn’t lose, but we have to be better,” said Restrepo. “In soccer, nothing is given. Every week is a different game and you have to have the same respect for each game. Now we have to set this aside and get ready for Wednesday and try and get three points.”
San Antonio will have the chance to cut the gap to the Monarchs on Wednesday night when it visits Orange County SC, but another challenge will away at Champions Soccer Stadium after OCSC launched itself back into the playoff race with a victory against the Swope Park Rangers.
Photo courtesy LA Galaxy II
As on Saturday night, nothing will come easily as San Antonio pursues top spot in the Western Conference.
“We’ll go and review tonight’s game and begin preparing for Wednesday’s match like we always do,” said SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell. “We have some work to do in a short span of time but we will get out on the practice field and be ready in a few days.”