Patiño scores early, San Antonio FC wins first ever match against Birmingham Legion FC

Cardone notches five saves in victory

Forward Santiago Patiño salutes the fans following San Antonio FC's season-opening 3-0 victory over Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC on Saturday, May 1, 2021. (Andrew Cely, KSAT)

SAN ANTONIO – For the first time in club history, San Antonio FC welcomed Birmingham Legion FC to the Alamo City.

The home side gave the sold out crowd at Toyota Field plenty to cheer for.

Santiago Patiño scored the opening goal in the first minute of play, Jordan Perruzza added the game-winner late in the second half and SAFC got back in the win column on Saturday night, 2-1. With the win, San Antonio improves to 2-1-1 on the season, 2-0-1 at home. The club’s regular season home unbeaten streak now stands 16 straight matches.

“Tonight was all around a special night,” said head coach Alen Marcina. “I’m so proud of everyone. We played in front of a sold out crowd. Our fans were amazing and brought so much energy. We got to celebrate a city tradition with ‘Viva Night’ and that was amazing as well. The front office did a great job and the players were committed. They earned the result.”

San Antonio’s first goal came as a result of the pressure created by midfielder Jose Gallegos. Injected into the starting lineup for the first time this season, Gallegos dribbled right into the box for a shot on goal that deflected off the keeper’s outstretched arm and right onto Patiño’s foot. He then tallied his fifth goal of the season, continuing the best scoring start of any forward in SAFC history. That was the only goal scored in the first half.

“It changes everything, it changed the game,” defender Mathieu Deplagne explained. “It’s easier for us [to play from ahead], especially at home. That’s a good way to start the game, and after a win it feels even better. We showed a lot of resilience. It’s not easy when you consider the team is pushing in the last minutes. We showed a strong mentality tonight to win and preserve the lead.”

Still clinging to that one-goal lead in the late stages of the second half, San Antonio finally doubled their advantage off a set piece in the 81st minute. A corner kick found Deplagne who headed the ball back across the box and Perruzza chipped it past the keeper to make it 2-0. This is Perruzza’s first goal with SAFC this season. He scored three goal as a member of last year’s squad, and rejoined the club on loan on May 20.

Goalkeeper Matt Cardone recorded five saves in the victory.

San Antonio FC will next look to avenge their only loss of the season by hosting Rio Grande Valley Toros FC next Saturday. The match is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.

About the Author:

Andrew has covered athletics of all levels for more than five years and is dedicated to shining a spotlight on local San Antonio athletes and their stories.