San Antonio FC has remained undefeated but dropped to second place in the league as they could only manage a scoreless draw with Swope Park Rangers at Toyota Field on Saturday night.
“It’s tough when you play the same team twice in a week, and taking four points from the series, we would have taken that at the start of the series.” Said San Antonio FC Head Coach Darren Powell after the match.
In the 82nd minute San Antonio FC’s chances of winning were dealt a severe blow when Greg Cochrane was shown a straight red card for what seemed a 50-50 challenge. Despite that the San Antonio FC defense adjusted and they held on for the draw.
“From my angle, I need to see the tape, what you saw was two committed players going for a committed challenge and I don’t think either one of them could back out in that moment.” Said Powell, “unfortunately Greg got pinned for committing to a challenge that his opponent was equally committed to.”
Swope Park started the match brightly challenging San Antonio FC well, and forcing Diego Restrepo in to a strong save just three minutes in to the match. Swope Park controlled things thanks to a high press which made things hard for San Antonio to get out.
After the 15th minute San Antonio FC started to gain control of the match with AJ Ajeakwa receiving more of the ball. That coupled with Billy Forbes’ fancy footwork was creating problems in the box for Swope Park but they were able to deal with them.
San Antonio FC went perilously close in the 33rd minute when a cross went in to the box for Ajeakwa to try and get a head on. But the cross was too close to the keeper allowing him to beat Ajeakwa to punch clear, with Ajeakwa going down in the challenge, but able to recover.
With halftime approaching the two San Antonio FC wingers looked to combine but the Swope Park defense did well. Forbes cut in to the box from the right and looked to square it for Kris Tyrpak but the Swope defense got back well to cut it out and clear the ball to keep it scoreless at the break.
The second half started with a real end-to-end feel as San Antonio FC and Swope Park countering each others attacks. It made for some exciting viewing but with strong defense from both teams clear cut chances were hard to come by.
A counter attack gave San Antonio FC a golden opportunity in the 72nd minute as Tyrpak made a run down the right hand side. The supporting cast came running in to the box late but they just weren’t there quick enough as Tyrpak’s cross was over hit.
“The hardest thing to do in soccer is score a goal,” said Powell, “those moments happen few and far between… tonight just didn’t connect for whatever reason, there are things we have to look at on the tape.”
In the 89th minute Stephen McCarthy kept San Antonio FC in the match as a shot from Swope Park looked destined for the back of the net. McCarthy got his body in the way, blocking it on the line to salvage a point for San Antonio FC.