SAN ANTONIO – With three games under their belt, San Antonio FC has already established themselves atop the Group D standings with seven total points.
Now the challenge is to maintain their position.
That task will be difficult as SAFC heads up the road to face their South Texas rivals Austin Bold FC on Saturday. This will be the first of four meetings between San Antonio and Austin this fall. SAFC posted a 1-2-0 record against Austin in 2019. The Alamo City club has notched at least a point in every match they have played so far, and they lead Austin by four points in the group standings.
“It’s been a strong start after a long break,” said defender Joshua Yaro. “The team is in a good place right now, and we feel good about it. We know that it’s not done. It’s just been a few games, and we’re going to keep going, keep fighting until the end of the season.”
This will be Austin’s second match since the USL resumed play earlier this month. On July 17, Austin dropped their second season opener 3-1 to Oklahoma City Energy FC. Since then, the club’s next two matches were postponed and rescheduled after a “covered member” tested positive for COVID-19. A similar situation happened with San Antonio FC’s first match against Rio Grande Valley FC, but that match was only delayed two days. Regardless, an additional week of rest will ensure that Austin takes the pitch at Bold Stadium with fresh legs.
“They have a deep roster, and they’re very well coached,” head coach Alen Marcina explained. “There’s individual talent within the team that, given time and space, can punish you. For us, there were a lot of positives from game one to game two, and hopefully we continue that trend into the game coming up.”
One of San Antonio FC’s best offensive weapons has opened the season on fire. Midfielder Cristian Parano has tallied a goal and an assist over the first two matches, providing all the offense the Alamo City club needed to remain undefeated in regulation. In SAFC’s most recent match against the Toros, the reigning USL Championship Young Player of the Year created four scoring opportunities and finished with a passing accuracy of 84.6%.
“We all know what Cristian can do,” Marcina said. “Cristian is an incredible human being. He’s so committed, so coachable. We see progression within Cristian on a day-to-day basis, and that’s extremely exciting for any coach. Obviously, he’s been performing with and without the ball, and it will only get better from here.”
Parano and the rest of San Antonio FC will square off against Austin on Saturday at 8 p.m.