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.