San Antonio FC (14-2-10) earned a 1-0 win against Orange County SC (8-9-9) on the road to clinch its first-ever USL playoff berth. A goal from defender Ben Newnam was enough to secure SAFC a place in the playoffs, becoming just the second club to clinch a spot so far this season.
“I’m very pleased with our players tonight,” SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell said. “We worked very hard and put ourselves in a position to get three points, and we’re pleased to be part of SAFC history by earning a playoff berth. We have a lot of season left to play and we want to continue getting better, and we want to make sure we put on good performances the rest of the season.”
The lone goal of the match came in the 55th minute when defender Ben Newnam scored from long range with a free-kick, beating goalkeeper Charlie Lyon for the 1-0 lead after the keeper was put off by Sebastien Ibeagha’s run. The goal marked Newnam’s first for the Silver and Black in his 21st appearance for the club.
With the win, SAFC elevated its point tally to 52 points on the season while limiting Orange County’s maximum possible amount to 51, officially securing the Alamo City club its first playoff berth in franchise history and becoming just the second team to clinch after league-leading Real Monarchs SLC.
SAFC goalkeeper Diego Restrepo recorded his 11th clean sheet of the season, making three saves on the night. Restrepo is now just two shutouts away from matching the USL single-season record, which was set by goalkeeper Brandon Miller in 2015 while with the Rochester Rhinos.
San Antonio FC midfielder Connor Presley made his first start for the club, playing 73 minutes while recording one shot, one chance created, and 90 percent passing accuracy.
Last season, San Antonio FC fell just short of the playoffs after falling to Rio Grande Valley FC in the last match of the 2016 regular season. With Wednesday’s win, SAFC is now just four points away from first-place Real Monarchs. The Silver and Black is also the team with the fewest losses in the league so far this season with just two.
SAFC: 0-1, Ben Newnam 55’
OCSC: Yellow Card (Oscar Sorto 54’)
SAFC: Yellow Card (Cesar Elizondo 61’)
SAFC: Yellow Card (Kris Tyrpak 68’)
SAFC: Yellow Card (Stephen McCarthy 85’)
SAFC Starting XI: GK: Diego Restrepo; D: Ben Newnam, Cyprian Hedrick, Sebastien Ibeagha (C), Greg Cochrane; M: Ryan Roushandel, Maxi Rodriguez (Stephen McCarthy 84’), Kris Tyrpak, Omar Gordon; F: Connor Presley (Ever Guzman 73’), Cesar Elizondo
Substitutions Not Used: Lee Johnston, Mark O’Ojong, Pecka, Mike Seth, Billy Forbes