Last night San Antonio F.C. vs Phoenix Rising would end in a 3-3 draw, giving San Antonio F.C. one point in their 1st ever season opener at home, but there was a different energy at Toyota Field last night that all started way before kickoff.
This past off-season was a time of reflection for San Antonio F.C. front office. Without diving into too much detail, suffice it to say last season was a little bit of a let down both on and off the pitch. Tim Holt, Managing Director for SAFC, told us in the pre-season that this year they want to do better.
What started off as a quiet off-season for SAFC, finished in a whirl-wind of events, player signings, and even an app. All of this came to fruition last night at Toyota Field in front of 8,058 screaming fans.
Looking at the 18 that made the San Antonio F.C. roster last night, fans may only have recognized a handful of names. There is a new game-plan for San Antonio F.C. and they cleared house of players they felt didn’t fit into their scheme.
Last night we saw San Antonio F.C. in a 4-4-2 for much of the match, with both Billy Forbes and Ever Guzman up top. This created much more chances for San Antonio F.C. throughout the game. They would tally 19 shots, 15 of those coming from inside the box. San Antonio dominated Phoenix in almost every single offensive category but one, goals.
It was the first regular season game in silver and black for the entire back four, and at times it showed. Individually they played well, Greene especially showed some talent with his 1 on 1 defending. Where we saw the mistakes came more as a unit. Goalkeeper Matt Cardone is going to have to get vocal with these guys as they get a feel for each other. There was one instance last night that a defender didn’t know whether to clear a ball out or if Cardone was coming off his line because he said nothing.
Offensively it was an entirely different story, you saw the attacking power of this new squad. SAFC has a lot of fun new weapons. We saw the connection between Lance Laing and Ever Guzman that resulted in the 1st goal for the 2019 season (expect about 20 more of those) but we also saw the ability of Cristian Parano and Jack Barmby to create dangerous chances. Throw in a hungry Billy Forbes (see goal #2) and the possibilities for this team are endless.
While I am not suggesting the last 3 seasons of this club are all forgotten. I am stating that this new USL Championship Season feels like a fresh new look for San Antonio FC, and I am not just talking about that white kit.