San Antonio FC defeated Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC on penalties to advance to the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The win marks the second time in franchise history that SAFC has advanced to the fourth round of the tournament.
“When it gets to penalties, you never know what’s going to happen,” SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell said. “We told the guys to be confident when they went up to take theirs, and they certainly did that. I thought we hit a good series of penalties tonight and they allowed us to advance.”
SAFC opened the scoring in the eighth minute of the match after 16-year-old Ethan Bryant earned a penalty kick after forcing a Switchbacks handball in the box. Midfielder Rafa Castillo converted from the spot for the 1-0 lead. The goal marked Castillo’s second in all competitions this season and second from the penalty spot.
The Switchbacks then equalized in the 26th minute after forward Tobenna Uzo scored off a header following a corner kick for the visitors. The two USL clubs then ended regulation time level 1-1, forcing the teams into extra time and eventually penalty kicks.
SAFC won the shootout 5-3 with converted penalties from Jose Escalante, Darnell King, Mike Seth, Maxi Rodriguez, and Mikey Lopez. The win marks the first for the Alamo City club in a penalty shootout. The club previously fell on penalties in the third round of the 2017 edition of the tournament as well as in the 2017 USL Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals.
The San Antonio native, Bryant, made his professional debut on the night, playing 120 minutes and drawing the penalty that would lead to the club’s lone goal in regular time. The 16-year-old is the first player to make his professional debut after being identified through the SAFC Pro Academy Elite Training Program.
Matchups for the fourth round of the Open Cup will be announced by U.S. Soccer on Thursday, May 24 at 10 a.m. CT.
SAFC will return to USL action on Saturday, May 26 as the club visits Reno 1868 FC for the first time this season.
SAFC: 1-0, Rafa Castillo (penalty) 8’
Switchbacks FC: Toby Uzo (Josh Suggs assist) 26’
Penalty Summary: SAFC Wins 5-3
SAFC: Jose Escalante (scored)
Switchbacks FC: Luke Vercollone (scored)
SAFC: Darnell King (scored)
Switchbacks FC: Jamal Jack (scored)
SAFC: Maxi Rodriguez (scored)
Switchbacks FC: Josh Suggs (scored)
SAFC: Mike Seth (scored)
Switchbacks FC: Uriel Macias (missed)
SAFC: Mikey Lopez (scored)
Switchbacks FC: Yellow Card (Pascal Eboussi 58’)
SAFC: Yellow Card (Stephen McCarthy 89’)
Switchbacks FC: Yellow Card (Saeed Robinson 104’)
Switchbacks FC: Red Card (Saeed Robinson 120’)
Switchbacks FC: Yellow Card (Jamal Jack 120’)
SAFC Starting XI: GK: Matt Cardone; D: Cyprian Hedrick (Jose Escalante 79’), Stephen McCarthy (c), Chris Christian, Greg Cochrane; M: Gianluca Cuomo, Rafa Castillo (Mikey Lopez 65’), Maxi Rodriguez, Omar Gordon (Darnell King 65’), Ethan Bryant; F: Mike Seth
Substitutions Not Used: Lee Johnston, Ryan Roushandel, Cesar Elizondo, Alex Bruce