SAN ANTONIO – With fans back in full force at Toyota Field for the home opener, San Antonio FC did not disappoint.
New acquisition Santiago Patiño tallied the second hat trick in franchise history, and the Alamo City club defeated Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC 3-0 on Saturday night. With the win, San Antonio remains undefeated in home openers, improving to 4-0-2 all time.
“It’s been a long time since we had fans in the building, so it’s an emotional night for everyone,” head coach Alen Marcina said. “This is three points that we earned and deserved, and we did it for our fans. I am incredibly pleased with the level of commitment. We asked the players to be focused, apply intensity and be resilient for 90-plus minutes and that’s what they did so I am incredibly proud of them.”
It didn’t take long for SAFC to assert themselves. After controlling the tempo for the majority of the opening minutes, Nathan found Marcus Epps in the box for a shot on goal. Goalkeeper Abraham Rodriguez batted it right to Patiño who headed it in for the opening goal and a 1-0 lead just 16 minutes into the match. Patiño doubled the lead in the 28th minute of play, putting home a cross from team captain PC for a 2-0 advantage. SAFC goalkeeper Matt Cardone made a pair of crucial saves towards the end of the half to keep a clean sheet.
San Antonio continued to press throughout the second half until they finally broke through again in the 87th minute. This time Chris Lema found Patiño on a breakaway and the forward chipped it to the far post for his third and final goal of the night.
WATCH: Santiago Patiño (@SPatino_9) scores a hat trick in an impressive debut, as @SanAntonioFC remains undefeated in home openers with a 3-0 victory over Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC! #KSATsports @InstantReplaySA pic.twitter.com/0rxUrHEvLp— Andrew Cely (@ACelySports) May 2, 2021
“It was a great feeling,” Patiño explained. “As a team, we have been working very hard for eight weeks. The coaching staff has done a great job to make sure we have the right mentality to attack the games and win. As a team, we did that today. We left everything on the field, and it was great to score.”
“I’ve known Santiago a long time, we played together in Orlando,” said midfielder Cam Lindley. “I know how hard he’s worked and the work he has put in is starting to pay off. He would be the first one to tell you it’s nice to get three goals, but he needs to carry that confidence into the next weekend. We have really high hopes and really high ambitions at this club.”
Marcina has now led his team to victory in each of the last two home opening matches. He and SAFC will return to the pitch at Toyota Field next Saturday, May 8 to face Real Monarchs SLC. That match is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.