Thursday nights. The last mile marker before we reach the weekend. Gross.
Thankfully, we had a San Antonio FC (4-5-5) home victory to keep our minds off of that final workday of the week. The match would see 8th place Orange County Blues (5-6-3) take their first trip to Toyota Field to face San Antonio for the second time this season.
Their first bout ended 1-0 in favor of the California side, thanks to a converted penalty kick. This match was far more entertaining for the goal-addicts among us, as San Antonio put 3 into the back of the net and Orange County tallied 2 of their own.
San Antonio continued what they started on Saturday against Colorado Springs by scoring in the first half. Forward Jacques Francois was absolutely clinical in his dribbling inside the penalty area before finding an open Michael Reed for the game’s first goal in the 17th minute. Orange County would even things up in the 41st minute with a goal from defender Roy Meeus.
The second half was physical from the start. Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the ref let things get a little out of hand. Tempers never flared over into full on fights, but some questionable tackles were scattered throughout the first 20 minutes of the second half.
Orange County went up 2-1 with a goal from midfielder Didier Crettenand in the 50th minute. The next 20 minutes were brutal for San Antonio FC fans. The club never outright quit, but the clicking offense seen in the first half stalled as the team wasn’t able to generate much of anything.
Enter Franck “The Tank” Tayou.
The former MASL scoring leader was subbed on in the 72nd minute. His presence was felt almost immediately as the Orange County defense had to account for not only a second forward, but one that was a well-rested big target. It took all of 2 minutes for San Antonio to even things up. Jacques Francois got his second assist of the night on a beautiful play to the new striker, who netted his first for the club.
Hero of the draw two weeks ago in Portland, Milton Palacios put the club up 3-2 from a Carlos Alvarez assist in the 80th minute. The goal proved enough to secure the 3 points at home.
The result not only is good for SAFC’s case to make the playoffs, as the 6 points gained in the last two games puts them 1 point away from a playoff spot, but also for the mentality of a club who was struggling to produce. Now SAFC has 10 days before their next match against bottom of the table Tulsa Roughnecks FC. The time will likely be spent incorporating new strikers Tayou and Morgan into the squad as well as finding some regularity in schedule now that the club is out of the U.S. Open Cup. The game against Tulsa will mark the half way point of the inaugural season for the club.
San Antonio FC Starting XI (4-1-4-1): Ford (c); Palacios, McCarthy, Bradnock-Brennan, Cochrane; Salazar; Okiomah (Garcia 45′), Castillo (Tayou 72′); Reed, Alvarez (Thuriere 86′); Francois
Unused Subs: GK: Cardone, F: Johnson, Morgan, D: McBride
Man of the Match: Jacques Francois