Seattle Sounders 2 came to San Antonio with a plan and it worked to almost perfection as they forced San Antonio to settle for a scoreless draw at Toyota Field on Saturday night.
“They came here with a game plan, they stuck to it and they made life very difficult for us.” Said San Antonio FC head coach Darren Powell after the match. “we had a lot of possession and made chances, we kept it to zero and got another point in the league.”
In the sixth minute a fruitful combination from last week nearly resulted in the first goal of the match. Kris Tyrpak played through a well weighted through ball for AJ Ajeakwa but the assistant referee just flagged Ajeakwa, moving just too soon.
Tyler Miller came up huge for Seattle on a corner when he made three saves on a San Antonio corner. First as the ball fell to Sebastien Ibeagha at close range at the far post, and then twice more as the ball bounced around in the box.
In the 40th minute some strong work from Billy Forbes up the left wing gave San Antonio a golden opportunity. He made space and squared for Ajeakwa who was just in front of it, the clearance fell to Michael Reed whose shot was just too heavy.
San Antonio started the second half well and after a half-clearance from Seattle they went agonizingly close to opening the scoring. The ball fell out to Michael Reed who shot powerfully from the edge of the area but just wide.
The pitch conditions were making flowing, attractive, football difficult for both teams to achieve as the ball often wouldn’t behave as wanted. That meant that for all of San Antonio FC’s possession dominance they just could not get enough clear chances away.
“The pitch is what it is,” said Powell, “it’s the same for both teams and right now we’re in that transitional period between the grasses, it’s certainly not what it was here two weeks ago. Hopefully that pitch will recover in to being one of the best surfaces in the country.”
Seattle should have had the lead in the 71st minute when a Stephen McCarthy defensive mistake allowed Seattle in clean through.McCarthy’s touch was poor, allowing the striker through but there was too much on the ball and it came off the bar allowing San Antonio to clear.
The hosts countered quickly and one minute later they could have had the lead when Forbes was played through on goal. With Miller sliding, he was able to get a look at goal, sending it across the face but agonizingly wide.
A free-kick in the 87th minute gave San Antonio one last chance to get the winner and it followed the pattern of set-pieces all match. Castillo looked for Ibeagha on the far post and he got there with a diving header that went agonizingly wide.
“I’ve been enjoying that target man role,” said Ibeagha, “but I have to put them away, I had five chances tonight and I should have scored. It’s something for me to work on in practice.”