San Antonio FC recently completed is fourth season in the USL Championship. In the 2019 season, San Antonio played 34 games – 17 at home and 17 on the road – and despite plenty of excitement throughout the year, a couple of games stood out. Below are five of the most exciting games involving SAFC during the 2019 campaign.
Number 5: August 10 at Reno 1868 FC (W, 4-1)
Back in August, San Antonio FC traveled to Reno looking for an important road win before the team came home to host two straight home matches. At the time, San Antonio had won just once in 10 tries on the road, so facing a top-two side away from home could have been a tall ask. Despite the challenge, SAFC would go on to earn a dominating 4-1 win behind a brace from Cristian Parano. Parano would be named Player of the Week following the game, and the performance began to build a strong case for August Player of the Month. Jack Barmby and Frank Lopez added the other two goals as SAFC earned their largest road win of the season.
Number 4: September 28 vs. Fresno FC (W, 2-1)
In the penultimate home match of the season for San Antonio, the club needed a win to continue its playoff hopes at the time. They were facing Fresno FC – a club that had hovered in the top three of the conference all season – so earning three points was anything but assured. SAFC answered the call in front of a sold out crowd of 7,932 at Toyota Field. Walter Restrepo and Moises Hernandez were the heroes as both recorded a goal an assist in the win. Hernandez’s chop, cut and roofed finish provided the winner for San Antonio in the 67th minute.
Number 3: July 3 vs. Austin Bold FC (W, 3-0)
In 2019, San Antonio FC gained a new rival as the Austin Bold joined the league. To company the blossoming derby, Austin sported three former SAFC players on their roster as well – Kris Tyrpak, Sonny Guadarrama and Diego Restrepo. Austin earned a 1-0 victory over SAFC in their first league meeting of 2019, while the Bold also defeated SAFC in the Open Cup back in May. However, during the early 4th of July celebrations at Toyota Field on July 3, SAFC would put in a complete performance and defeat the Bold 3-0 for the first win in the new derby for the Alamo City club. An Austin own goal followed by goals from Billy Forbes and Cristian Parano – coupled with a clean sheet by Matthew Cardone – gave SAFC the bragging rights that night.
Number 2: June 8 vs. Reno 1868 FC (W, 3-2)
A match against Reno makes the list for the second time. As SAFC were preparing to host 1868 FC at Toyota Field, the club was looking for its first league win since April 26. SAFC were caught in a hole early as Reno took a two-goal first half lead before Ever Guzman scored right before halftime, making the score 2-1 at the break. Then, in a flash, SAFC had completed the comeback after scoring two goals in two minutes – both by the team’s teenagers. Ethan Bryant equalized against Reno before Jose Gallegos scored his first goal for the club just a minute later to give SAFC the 3-2 lead and the eventual three points.
Number 1: August 24 vs. New Mexico United (W, 5-0)
The largest win in club history? Check. The most goals scored in club history? Check. August 24 vs. New Mexico was a fun night for the Toyota Field crowd. SAFC set records with a 5-0 win over New Mexico, and standout performer Cristian Parano was named the Player of the Week after scoring two goals and recording two assists in the win. Add a New Mexico red card and a clean sheet by Matthew Cardone and the SAFC defense, and this was about as perfect as a performance as possible.
SAFC forward Ever Guzman scored the first-ever club hattrick in a 4-3 win over the Timbers 2.
SAFC opened the season with a thrilling 3-3 home draw in front of a sellout crowd.
San Antonio’s first road win of 2019 came at El Paso thanks to a brace from debutant Frank Lopez.