Four San Antonio boys’ varsity teams faced playoffs on Thursday with a successful day as three of the four, Johnson, Clark and Southside advanced while Harlandale was easily defeated.
In the Class 5A Bidistrict playoffs Southside did just enough to advance to the next round of playoas they managed a 1-0 win over Corpus Christi King. A goal in the first half was enough to send the San Antonio school past their Corpus Christi rivals.
The hero was junior forward John Lopez who made a strong run to get on the end of the ball and send it home in the first half. Senior defender Gilbert Casillas had the assist a vital contribution to continue his varsity soccer career, as that early lead would hold to send Southside through.
At Texas Lutheran Johnson won through to the next round of the Class 6A bidistrict playoffs after a 4-1 win over Austin Vandegrift. Senior forward Seth Holzmann was the hero for Johnson as he scored a hat-trick in the dominant win.
Holzmann scored two first half goals and one in the second half to lead Johnson through to the next round of the playoffs. Senior midfielder Jacob Hallenberger managed to put the icing on the cake late in the match with a goal of his own to seal the 4-1 win.
A San Antonio team will be guaranteed to advance beyond the next stage of the 6A playoffs as Clark also advanced managing a 4-1 win over Canyon. A strong second half sent Clark past Canyon as they scored three of their goals in the second half with sophomore forward Eduardo Ramirez getting two of them and being the star of the match.
The scoring was opened in the first half by senior midfielder Andree Hernandez who was able to put away a ball from junior midfielder Daniel Rodriguez. That was enough for Clark to take the lead at half-time and in the second half Rodriguez was at it again as he set up sophomore midfielder Angel Caballero for the second goal, putting Clark in charge of the match.
From there Ramirez scored his brace with both goals being set up by senior midfielder Luis Carlos Garcia to send Clark through to the next round. There was a consolation goal for Canyon as junior forward Hector Rios Mauldin was able to put away a ball from fellow forward, sophomore Luis Florian but it was not enough as Clark strolled through to the next round.
There was one negative result for San Antonio teams as Harlandale were outplayed in the Class 5A playoff. They fell to a 6-0 defeat to Flour Bluff of Corpus Christi ending their season in frustrating fashion.
New signing Devin Vega after a pre-season match (Photo: San Antonio FC)
San Antonio FC kicks off their second season of existence on Saturday, again starting their season with a match on the road as they play their first derby of the season in Edinburg against Rio Grande Valley FC Toros.
While the events off-field were phenomenally successful for San Antonio FC their on-field results were not what they wanted. Throughout last season all the staff of the club stated their goal was the playoffs and the club fell just short. But that was an ambitious goal for a club that did not exist until January of that year and as such could not generate a squad without a full off-season, so now, in their second season the club can really challenge for a playoff place that they should qualify for.
There have been a handful of notable departures from the club with Franck Tayou being the most dramatic, dismissed from the club after his failure to report for pre-season training. Josh Ford has left the club after retiring, an unfortunate end to his career as a long servant of soccer in America. Two players have left the club and remain in the United Soccer League (USL), Manolo Sanchez moved to Harrisburg earlier this week after a successful trial but will not face San Antonio FC. The other is Jason Johnson, who moves to Phoenix Rising meaning San Antonio FC will get to face their former squad member. Tayou is the loss fans are most frustrated by, and they should be it was a foolish reason to abandon the club and his output will leave a hole.
The ‘ins’ are where San Antonio FC have really excelled having one of the best off-seasons in terms of recruitment in USL. Two former Scorpions have returned to San Antonio with Kris Tyrpak returning to Texas after a season at Swope Park Rangers and fan favorite Billy Forbes comes back to San Antonio after a season with the ill fated Rayo OKC, joining along with another Rayo OKC player, Pecka, a phenomenal pick up for San Antonio FC.
One of the bright youngsters signed by the club in the offseason is local product Devin Vega who joins after a strong youth career in the FC Dallas academy. Vega has had a productive pre-season, scoring more goals than any other player and looks set to have a strong season and could be one of the pick ups of the season.
With Ford retiring another goalkeeper was needed to challenge Matt Cardone for the starting position and in Diego Restrepo they have certainly found someone to push Cardone. In all San Antonio FC has made 13 new signings ahead of the 2017 season and have strengthened their squad to the point where it should be strong enough to find a playoff place, in what will be a hard fought western conference.
After a promising start for Houston Dynamo’s season under a new head coach, Wilmer Cabrera, they have suffered a hit to their season as they announced on Tuesday that they lost George Malki for the season due to injury.
The announcement revealed that the injury, sustained at a training session last Wednesday, is a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee, an injury significant enough to already rule him out for the rest of the season. The injury will require surgery, with Malki getting that surgery on Friday at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital with Dr. Tim Sittler performing the surgery.
“We are disappointed for George with the news of his recent injury,” said Dynamo Vice-president and General Manager Matt Jordan. “We are confident that with his work ethic and attitude he’ll make a full recovery to return to the field stronger than ever.”
The loss of Malki is disappointing for Houston as he was a part of the rebuilding of the side under Cabrera for the 2017 season. Malki joined Dynamo the same way Cabrera did, coming with him from Rio Grande Valley FC Toros after playing 25 matches for the club last year.
This is the second time Malki has been with Houston Dynamo, having previously been with the team in the 2015 preseason but not gaining a contract. That saw him join Arizona United SC (now Phoenix Rising) for his first professional season, impressing enough to join the Houston Dynamo pathway in Rio Grande Valley and his performances there have brought him up.
Reagan closed out their girls’ soccer regular season in the best possible way as they demolished MacArthur 7-0 at Blossom on Tuesday afternoon.
Impressively all seven goals in the match came from different players, with no player scoring multiple goals. That augers well for the Rattlers heading in to the postseason play with a deep pool of players capable of scoring goals. Junior midfielder Sarah Puga was involved in three goals, providing two assists and scoring one herself.
It took just two minutes for the Rattlers to open the scoring, in a sign of what was about to happen for MacArthur. Sophomore midfielder Rachel Hilliard was able to get on the end of a chance and bury it getting Reagan off to a flying start.
After that goal MacArthur’s defense settles, at least a little but in the eighth minute they were able to double their lead. This time it came through senior forward Taylor Olson who was able to continue her good season, using her speed to get on the end of it and make it 2-0.
11 minutes later and the onslaught continued as the Rattlers continued attacking with senior forward Lauren Anderson scoring another goal for Reagan. It took just five minutes before Reagan made it four as Angela Baltimore was able to score her goal.
That was the middle of an onslaught as just four minutes later Reagan had another goal as senior forward Jala Tousant was able to bury her chance. Just two minutes later they made it 6-0 as a corner found sophomore defender Eden Jones who used her height to bury the chance.
With a phenomenal six goal lead at half-time the second half saw less intensity as Reagan let off the gas a little but still controlled proceedings. Late in the match Reagan made it seven as the corner was swung in by Puga, who managed to score directly from the corner wrapping up the 7-0 win.
Churchill celebrate after the match (Photo: Alison Beron Frey)
There was yet another thrilling San Antonio varsity soccer match on Monday as Churchill managed a big 4-3 win over MacArthur in boys soccer on Monday afternoon at Commlander Stadium.
The result was crucial win for Churchill as they need to win out to seal a place in the playoffs and the 65th minute goal from senior midfielder Anthony Caraballo was vital in that effort, proving the winner. Churchill just managed to hold on as they were reduced to ten men just three minutes later.
The Chargers were the stronger side in the opening stages and it was that strong start that would push them on to the win. Four minutes in to the match Churchill opened the scoring as senior forward Tristan Pettit was able to open the scoring after a simple finish. Just two minutes later the impressive freshman Skyler Frey continued his good start to his varsity career with a second goal, from the spot, which would prove vital for the match, and for the season.
With a two goal deficit MacArthur was forced to respond and pulled a goal back in the middle of the first half. Junior midfielder Norberto Lira was able to get on the end of a ball from sophomore midfielder William Vidal to pull MacArthur back in to the match.
The comeback continued as the Brahmas drew level less than ten minutes after the first goal went in. This time Lira turned provider as he was able to set up senior forward Gabriel Quinones for the equalizer.
But Churchill charged right back in to the lead with just six minutes to play in the half going to the sheds on top. Sophomore forward Dorian Eguez set up junior forward Karl Pitkin to score their third and put the Chargers back on front at half-time.
The second half was tight, with the two sides unable to break through for much of the half until the 65th minute. The goal came through a stunning strike from Carabello who was able to launch a powerful free-kick from 55 yards and hit the back of the net.
12 minutes from time Churchill were reduced to ten men, which opened the door for MacArthur, but they were left with little time. With just over three minutes to play Lira was able to set up sophomore midfielder Samuel Villegas to score but the final three minutes saw Churchill hold out well and manage a vital win.
Photo: San Antonio FC
San Antonio FC has secured a strong and experienced striker for their 2017 squad as they picked up Aly Alberto Hassan. Hassan was released from Carolina Railhawks after last season and found himself on trial at San Antonio FC and did enough to earn a place in the side.
2016 was a difficult year for Hassan being discarded by Carolina Railhawks (NASL) and spending time on loan at Charlotte Independence (USL). Despite that Hassan made the most of his time on loan with Charlotte scoring twice in just seven matches, scoring their only playoff goal.
“We’re excited to have Aly join us,” said San Antonio FC Head Coach Darren Powell, in a press release. “He’s a striker who we feel will score goals. His strength is in front of goal and he can convert chances. He impressed us throughout the preseason and has worked hard throughout his time here in San Antonio. We’re looking forward to working with him on a full-time basis over the course of 2017.”
The most notable club in Hassan’s career, and the one he will be remembered for is Fort Lauderdale Strikers where he played from 2012-15. At the Strikers he regularly harassed the San Antonio Scorpions, who he put his best performances against. While there he scored nine goals through 50 matches with the Strikers spending part of 2013 on loan with Club Aurora in Bolivia.
After the Strikers Hassan moved to Ottawa Fury where he played 12 matches and scored three goals for the Canadian club. Since leaving Fort Lauderdale Hassan has been bounced around the United States and he will be hoping that San Antonio is a place where he can remain a while.
San Antonio FC have focused much of their offseason purchasing on strikers which should close off the issues that they had last year in that position. Hassan adds to the improved depth in that position after San Antonio FC were ravaged by injuries in 2015 and improved depth can only be a good thing as they seek to make the playoffs in their second ever season.
Stevens has continued their strong boys varsity form as they managed a big 6-1 win over Brennan on Tuesday night at the Northside Field. The win fully confirms Stevens place in the playoffs for District 28-6A alongside Clark and Brandeis, while Brennan are already eliminated.
The star was undoubtedly Stevens’ junior forward Phillip Duenez who managed a hat-trick as he was able to score three of the last four goals in the match. Duenez also laid off an assist for a goal from junior midfielder Oscar Munoz who also managed a multiple goal game, scoring two and assisting in two, one of which was scored by Duenez.
Despite those two scoring, the first goal of the match, which came early, involved neither of the two stars. It was senior defensive midfielder Kaden Munoz who had the assist as he was able to send a ball in the box for senior midfielder Eli Garza who buried the chance.
The second goal was all Munoz as he was able to create space by himself and get away a powerful shot which left Emiliano Rodriguez in the Brennan goal with no chance. He then went on to give his first assist as Munoz set up Duenez well for his first goal of the match.
The two combined again moments later as Dunez turned provider setting up Munoz for his second goal. That was only a momentary interruption to Dunez’s goal scoring as he received another Munoz pass moments later for his second and Stevens’ fifth.
It was senior defender Alan Reyes who was able to set up the sixth for Stevens as he found Dunez, wrapping up his hat-trick and a big win. There was one bright moment for Brennan as senior midfielder Juan Gutierrez set up junior midfielder Caleb Barrera for what was only a consolation goal.
The CONCACAF Gold Cup group stage schedule has been completed and as a result the three match days in Texas have been finalized following the schedule announcement on Tuesday. Houston and Frisco will host Honduras, Costa Rica, French Guiana, and Canada; while San Antonio will host Mexico, El Salvador, Curacao and Jamaica.
The Alamodome will host the final match day of the group stages and many fans have been excited that Mexico will be playing in the tournament in the Alamodome. But that will now be the weakest match for Mexico as they take on Curacao, with goals sure to be flying in, at time of publication Mexico was ranked 17th in the world with Curacao ranked 148th. Despite that fans in San Antonio should be pleased as the earlier match of the day, Jamaica v El Salvador is potentially one of the best matches in the group stages.
The first matches in Texas will be Tuesday July 11th at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston and will feature Group A. Again the better match is the first match of the double header as Costa Rica will take on Canada, who play in Houston for the second straight Gold Cup, while Honduras will play French Guiana in the second match of the day.
Frisco will host matches on the Friday of that week (July 14th) and will feature Costa Rica v French Guiana and Canada v Honduras. That is the first match day in Texas where the second match is really the bigger match of the day although Honduras will still go in as heavy favorites.
One more match will take place in Texas, and the schedule of the group stages provided some clarity in to what teams could be involved in that. AT&T Stadium in Arlington will host the first semi-final on July 22nd, with the winners of the first two quarter-finals, which means that Texas could potentially see the United States as they sit in Group B, with first and second in that group playing in the first two quarterfinals.
San Antonio FC completed their Florida road trip on Saturday and will return to San Antonio undefeated from the two matches as they wrapped it up with a scoreless draw against Orlando City B at Eastern Florida State College.
The visitors were likely the stronger side in the match, with an impressive defensive performance making life hard for Orlando City B. That said the wastefulness in front of goal was back, leaving San Antonio FC frustrated and forcing them to settle for a scoreless draw.
It was a dominant performance from San Antonio FC in the first half as they had all of the chances in the first 45. Despite all those chances they were unable to finish any of those opportunities but defensively they were strong, keeping Orlando City B from having a single shot on goal.
After that tight and bogged down first 45 minutes, the second half was much more open with the two teams creating many more chances. The two main outlets for San Antonio FC were Cesar Elizondo and Billy Forbes who had several chances but they were unable to capitalize on those opportunities.
Late in the match Orlando City B really started going for the match as they had chances and with the very last kick of the match they got extraordinarily close to stealing the win. A free-kick from just outside the box beat Matt Cardone but it did not beat the bar, as it slammed off the crossbar and out for a final score of 0-0.
San Antonio’s TMI-The Episcopal School has won their regional TAPPS final as they claimed a strong 3-1 win over St. Augustine (Laredo) on Wednesday to advance to the next round of the TAPPS playoffs, as they seek a state title in TAPPS Division II.
It was a strong first half that provide the basis for a big win as they managed to score three goals in the first 40 minutes of the match to seal the win, the three goals proving more than enough. Senior forward Alex Kuri was the star for TMI as he sealed a brace in a big win for the side.
The side is notable in that it is coached by former Scorpions assistant coach, Oscar Munoz who has really lifted the TMI side. TMI is lifting in contention for state titles and Munoz is no doubt a part of that lift, having proven himself at various levels over his many years in the game.
Kuri opened the scoring early as he was able to score a goal after creating space for himself to get a clear shot away. The defense tried to cover but it was too much space already, hitting a powerful shot which left the keeper with no chance.
That was not enough for Kuri as he sealed his brace midway through the first half again getting in to space and taking full advantage of it. The defense was simply unable to deal with an impressive performance from Kuri who again was able to beat the keeper with a strong shot.
With that seemingly enough for the half, TMI continued and late in the half they had a third goal that all but wrapped up the match. Senior midfielder Jorge Landois was able to get space to cross the ball in to the box finding senior midfielder Nick Perez who buried the chance, making it 3-0 at half-time.
With such a commanding lead TMI controlled the second half, using strong defense to keep St. Augustine down to just one goal. That goal always looked like it would only be a consolation goal and TMI advanced having won their regional title.