San Antonio FC has continued their incredible start to the season continued on Saturday night as a Rafael Castillo penalty was the difference as they managed a 1-0 win over Sacramento Republic.
“That game was very, very tight,” said San Antonio FC head coach Darren Powell after the match, “I’ve got a lot of respect for Sacramento, coming in here tonight, they’re well coached and very well organized, they made it difficult. I’m very proud of our guys, the way they competed for everything.”
In the 62nd minute Kris Tyrpak made a strong run up the right, allowing him to chip the ball over the top for AJ Ajaekwa. Ibeagha was clipped in the box, forcing the referee to point to the spot, allowing Rafael Castillo to bury the chance and give San Antonio FC the lead.
“I saw AJ (Ajaekwa) getting in and I knew he was infront of the defender so if nothing else he could draw some contact and he did.” Said Tyrpak.
San Antonio FC should have been punished in the seventh minute when they left Danny Barrera wide open on a cross. Fortunately for the hosts the shot was tame and right at Diego Restrepo who made a comfortable save.
Sacramento had a lot of possession in the first quarter of the match, continuing a trend of San Antonio FC to cede possession to their opponents. Despite that, they failed to make it count, most of it coming in their own back third.
In the 18th minute Sacramento would have had the lead if not for some great goalkeeping from Diego Restrepo. Sammy Ochoa received a through-ball which he ran on to, one-on-one with Restrepo who got a touch on it, allowing Stephen McCarthy to challenge for the ball and get it clear.
“Sometimes the bounces go your way, thankfully on this occasion it went our way.” Said Restrepo.
San Antonio FC had their best chance of the half in the 20th minute as some slick passing from Billy Forbes and Rafael Castillo opened up the space. Forbes shot was blocked, allowing USL player of the week Cesar Elizondo to take a shot from distance but he got under the ball and sent it well over the bar.
In first half stoppage time San Antonio FC went agonizingly close to taking the lead after space was made on the right. That allowed McCarthy to cross in, finding Castillo who leapt the highest but headed just over the bar, keeping it scoreless at the break.
A great header from Kris Tyrpak allowed him to take control of possession and lax defending from Sacramento Republic left Castillo onside. That allowed Castillo a one-on-one run at goal but Evan Newton was up to the task, getting down to the shot to keep the match scoreless in the 52nd minute.
Once San Antonio had the lead they really shut up shop, sometimes with 11 behind the ball to continue Sacramento’s scoreless run.