Well, we made it.
We’re less than 24 hours away from kickoff of San Antonio FC’s first regular season match. The boys will be decked in their all-white away kits as they take the pitch to face Sounders 2. There are plenty of posts documenting the development of this franchise, so lets look ahead at what we can expect from SAFC at S2.
Match Details: Game One. Starfire Stadium, Tukwila, WA. Kickoff 7pm central
Key For SAFC: Own the box. Seattle (both MLS & USL) is the champion of crossing the ball to the opposing defender. If the SAFC back four can keep the pressure tight, S2 will likely continue this trend.
Player To Watch: Manolo Sanchez. If he doesn’t have a shot of his own, Manolo will find a teammate and rack up the assists with ease.
Official SAFC projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Ford (C); Palacios, McCarthy, Okiomah, Cochrane; Castillo, Reed; Sanchez, Alvarez, Chin; Johnson
(A note about projected starting XI’s is that they are mandated by USL to be included in the team-provided media guides. While a projection is required, sticking to that projection is not. We could see some changes when the time comes.)
This week’s projected starting XI is built with the most experienced players on the team. If you want to know my prediction for the XI, it can be found on this week’s episode of the podcast. The short version is that I expect to see some less-experienced players starting over ones who on paper we thought were shoe-ins.
This squad is defensive-minded from Ford all the way to JJ. Seeing two solid players in Michael Reed and Rafa Castillo playing as defensive midfielders seems to bode well, especially considering that the 35 year old Rafa could be subbed out for fresher legs if needed using one of the 5 substitutes USL gives each team.
The fluidity of S2’s roster at the moment makes it tough to give a predicted lineup. What can be predicted though is that the farm team will put an emphasis on finishing chances after the abysmal play style shown against Arizona United on Wednesday night.
Like their MLS side, S2 enters their third match of the season 0-2. While they would obviously like to change that, it may be easier said than done with this being their third game in 7 days. The fact that these three games (and the two that follow) are all part of a 5 game homestand should carry extra weight as those are more points that will have to be regained on the road if they fall to SAFC.
Score Prediction: Seattle 0-2 San Antonio. S2 hasn’t shown an ability to finish this season and I don’t think they’ll find it on a short week facing what seems to be a solid defense lead by SAFC captain Josh Ford.