2017 started off on a high note for San Antonio FC. After winning their first league match of the season at RGV, SAFC returned home to face the LA Galaxy II at Toyota Field on April 1. There would be no April Fools joke for SAFC fans, as the Alamo City club earned an impressive 3-0 win in front of the sold-out crowd. 2017 remains the most successful San Antonio FC season in club history, and the win against the Galaxy II helped kick-start a home campaign where the club lost just once.
San Antonio FC started the match on the front foot, putting LA under pressure from the very first whistle. The first goal came after Cesar Elizondo played in Billy Forbes who at first saw two attempts on goal saved. After the second save, Forbes collected the rebound and pulled it back for the on-rushing Rafa Castillo who fired the ball first-time into the top corner of the net for the 1-0 lead.
After SAFC took the lead, LA Galaxy II started to impose themselves on the game, creating multiple chances in the next stages. A couple of crucial clearances from Stephen McCarthy helped preserve the lead for San Antonio. SAFC would then double the lead in the 29th minute after defender Ben Newnam made a run down the right and sent in a low cross. After a dummy from Elizondo, midfielder Michael Reed got the final touch on the ball, which deflected off ok keeper Jon Kempin and into the back of the net. With a 2-0 lead, SAFC entered half-time feeling confident about their chances while making sure to come out of the gates in the second 45 strong.
The second half started much more even with both teams exchanging scoring opportunities. Kempin made some big saves for LA while SAFC goalkeeper Matthew Cardone continued to pitch the shutout with some clutch stops of his own. Forbes would then seal the three points for San Antonio after he ran on to Elizondo’s through-ball in the 77th minute. Forbes found himself one-on-one and tucked the ball away nicely into the bottom corner. SAFC would hold on for the final 13 minutes, helping them start the season with two straight wins.
The match marked Forbes’ second consecutive Man of the Match performance, while both Elizondo and Newnam contributed assists as well. Three midfielders scored in the game for SAFC and Newnam brought his total tackles tally to 15 after just two games.
The win would be the first of eight at Toyota Field in 2017 as the club would go on to finish second in the Western Conference in addition to hosting two playoff matches in 2017. Forbes was named to the USL All-League Second team, while Reed and Castillo also became mainstays in the SAFC lineup that season.
SAFC: 1-0, Rafa Castillo (Billy Forbes assist) 12’
SAFC: 2-0, Michael Reed (Ben Newnam assist) 29’
SAFC: 3-0, Billy Forbes (Cesar Elizondo assist 77’)
SAFC Starting XI: GK: Matt Cardone; D: Ben Newnam, Sebastien Ibeagha, Stephen McCarthy (Ryan Roushandel 74’), Greg Cochrane; M: Rafa Castillo, Michael Reed (c) (Maxi Rodriguez 79’), Pecka, Kris Tyrpak (Shawn Chin 63’), Billy Forbes; F: Cesar Elizondo
Substitutions Not Used: Diego Restrepo, Devin Vega, Aly Alberto Hassan, AJ Ajeakwa
Full Match Below: