Comparing the two big changed seasons and the issues that this presented is a good way to reflect on why and how the defense is so different this season compared to being one of the best last year. To start we can analyze the back line through each season, see the changes, and then look at some key stats and see what happened.
2016: Milton Palacios, Sam McBride, Biko Bradnock-Brennan, Stephen McCarthy, Greg Cochrane
2016 had a big defensive line up, and the side did fairly well, there was an obvious bedding in period with the 2016 San Antonio FC side only coming together in a handful of months it took some time for it to be clear what the back line would even be let alone play good football. Once the team did get settled it wasn’t so bad, the team conceded 36 goals, a rate of 1.2 per game. Not quite good enough but the signs were promising especially toward the end of the season which led to the building of the 2017 squad.
2017: Ben Newnam, McCarthy, Cochrane, Cyprian Hedrick
While not 100% of the line-up returned for the team’s second season, two crucially did with McCarthy and Cochrane joined by Ben Newnam and Cyprian Hedrick to form perhaps the league’s most formidable back line. With some stability the team conceded 26 goals on the season an average of just 0.8 goals per game, completed 75.3 percent of its tackles and won 50.6 percent of duels. It was the best defensive performance San Antonio FC has managed and in part that was because of the stability that was held through from the inaugural season.
2018: Darnell King, Cochrane, Hedrick, Ryan Felix
With two changes again the team was fairly stable in 2018 but losing McCarthy was certainly a big loss felt through out the team but the stability of Cochrane and Hedrick helped cover the loss. The team conceded more goals though, with 28 goals (1.4 per game) but did well with tackles managing a 70.1 percent success rate.
2019: Moises Hernandez, Kai Green, Josh Yaro
For the first time since the inaugural season, San Antonio FC came in to the 2019 season with no defenders carried over from the season before. As one would expect with those differences things have not gone as well, the tackle success rate is well down (63.7 percent) but lately there have been promising signs. The goals conceded average has gone down to just 1.4 per game matching last season’s record. That leads to Jacob’s conclusion, that the team is finally jelling. I’m inclined to agree and if SA is to make a late push to have a successful season, it’ll be because of this, finally clicking. If the team can be kept together for the 2020 season they could be a strong force in the league.