One thing has stood out in the recent form of San Antonio FC, the lack of goal scoring in recent matches, but the problem does not appear to be up front, but rather, slightly further back.
“The hardest thing to do in soccer is to score a goal, everyone is trying to stop them and everyone wants to score them.” Said San Antonio FC head coach Darren Powell, about the scoring woes, “you’re hoping that moment when you get the chance you have the quality and it didn’t quite connect for whatever reason, was it a run, movement, or delivery?”
When looking at San Antonio FCs early form this season when they were dominating opposition teams there is one name that stands out as the change. Cesar Elizondo, whose injury coincided with the end of San Antonio’s total domination of their opponents.
While it is easy to place the blame for missed opportunities on the lack of a strong finisher, that has not been the issue here, with Billy Forbes doing well to lead the line there and finish chances that present to him.
What San Antonio FC has been missing has been a playmaker, someone to pull the strings behind Forbes. The challenge for San Antonio has been creating opportunities, with the final ball often going astray in recent matches.
Elizondo could well be that missing play maker as these issues really came to the surface with Elizondo absent from the team. That is why fans were delighted in the Swope Park match last week when he returned, and disappointed to see his name back on the injury list in last week’s match.
“Cesar is starting to get match sharpness, and speed back to normality… we’re excited to have him available.” Said Powell after that Swope Park match.
Statistically Elizondo has stats that would line up with being a play maker as he has already managed to make 118 passes. That puts him just two places below Billy Forbes in the team rankings despite having played fewer matches. Of those 118 passes, only eight have been long, showing Elizondo’s place as a short passing play maker.
Elizondo’s passing accuracy could use work, just at 66.1% but that is a decent number for a play maker as passes from someone in that position would be broken up. Most of those above Elizondo are playing fewer minutes or in defense where passing accuracy can be built up.
The absence of a play maker has certainly hurt San Antonio FC, they, and the fans, will no doubt be hoping Elizondo gets back to full fitness for their match at Toyota Field this Saturday night.
“Now that I have a chance to be on the field, it’s my chance to keep it going,” said Elizondo after his return. Fans will be hopeful that he takes that chance and keeps things going.