SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio FC was desperate for a win. Returning to Toyota Field for Military Appreciation Night on Saturday looked like a perfect opportunity to break their four-match winless streak, but a sluggish start and mental mistakes led to a 2-1 halftime deficit.
A pair of San Antonio natives came to the rescue, for the game and maybe the season.
Ethan Bryant and Jose Gallegos, each 17 years old, combined to score goals in the 61st and 63rd minutes of play, lifting SAFC to a dramatic, come-from-behind 3-2 victory over Reno 1868 FC. The win extends the club's unbeaten streak at home to six straight matches.
“I’m really proud of the players for all their efforts," said head coach Darren Powell. "It wasn’t the best of starts by anybody’s standards and we are very disappointed with that. Ever Guzman got us back into the game and within striking distance right before the end of the half with a well-taken goal, and in the second half we wanted to make sure we were the aggressor and to try and come out to earn three points. I’m really proud of the resilience, the way they performed, and their commitment to doing the right things in terms of effort and actions. It was fantastic.”
Bryant tallied the equalizer by putting home a deflection that just got past Reno's goalkeeper. The goal is his first of the season and second-ever with SAFC. Just over a minute later, Gallegos found some open space, dribbled past a defender and drilled a shot into the back of the net to put the Alamo City club up for good. It was Gallegos' first goal in USL Championship play.
“It feels great, but most importantly I am really happy with this win,” Bryant said. “The team deserves it and hopefully it is just onward and upward from here. It’s an awesome moment and one that I will remember for the rest of my life and the rest of my career. I am really happy for Jose, he deserves it. He is a hard-working player that I have known and played with for a long time, so to have that happen tonight is really special.”
“Both of those two men are San Antonio boys and I am extremely proud of the whole group, but it is always special when you see San Antonio players on the field," Powell said. "Overall, just the whole group tonight, I am extremely proud of everyone’s performance.”
Guzman scored the team's first goal, heading in a cross from defender Kai Greene just before halftime. It was Guzman's fifth goal and Greene's first assist this season.
“It is massive," Greene said. "The guys needed this, everybody needed this, the whole city needed this. You could tell the fans were a little anxious when we were down 2-0 and I don’t blame them. We had to put it upon ourselves to dig deep. We owe it to ourselves, the organization and to our fans who come out and support us day in and day out. We had to come together collectively. The young guys helped carry us, they did their jobs, they buried the goals that we needed and we locked it in to stay 3-2 up the rest of the game.”
Next up, San Antonio FC will once again hit the road for a match against OKC Energy FC at Taft Stadium on Saturday, June 15 at 8 p.m.