Growing up in San Antonio, San Antonio FC goalkeeper Matt Cardone and midfielder Ethan Bryant understand how important the two-week Fiesta celebrations are to the city. Any reason to honor your city and the people within it is a good enough reason for the two local players to be excited, but Fiesta specifically reigns in everyone’s focus on how great San Antonio and its residents are. What makes this year even more special for Cardone and Bryant is that SAFC will play a match in the middle of the celebrations, this Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Toyota Field.
The club has dubbed the night ‘Noche de Celebracion’ as the team hosts the Tacoma Defiance for the fifth home match of the season. As part of the celebrations, San Antonio FC will offer $1 beer and sodas courtesy of Bud Light, and special concessions, including chicken on a stick, turkey legs and corn in a cup. In addition, SAFC players will wear special edition Noche de Celebración pregame tops which honor the iconic San Antonio Spurs retro tri-color uniforms. Fans can bid for signed, player-worn pregame tops while replicas are also available for purchase. Following the match, SAFC will host the ‘Extra Time’ postgame party on the east concourse.
“Fiesta is a big party and we want our game to be a good time and have a good experience at the match,” said Cardone. “We will make sure to put on some fireworks for the fans and make sure everyone has a good time on Friday.”
Cardone understands the importance of these two weeks in the city. He grew up recognizing the Battle of Flowers Parade meant a day off school and an opportunity to go watch the parade. The MacArthur and Trinity graduate has also frequented NIOSA both with local San Antonio friends, and with friends from out of town in college.
“It’s cool to have a time to celebrate the culture and the identity of being a San Antonian,” Cardone said. “I think it’s really important to the city and everyone enjoys it. It’s good to remember every year what your city is all about.”
Also, a San Antonio resident, Bryant can also appreciate the importance of the time of year in the Alamo City. Along with his teammate Pecka, Bryant recently attended the Fiesta Fiesta event to promote the Spurs Sports & Entertainment selection of Fiesta medals, which gave him another unique perspective of how the city comes together during this time.
Being able to also play a home match at this time of year is also appealing to Bryant who made his professional debut last season. Although he is questionable for Friday’s match due to injury, Bryant knows how exciting this time is for San Antonio, and he hopes the club capitalizes on a passionate crowd to come out to this week’s match.
“It’s definitely a really cool thing to see as a player and as a San Antonio native,” Bryant said. “We are really excited for the game this week.”