SAN ANTONIO – For the second time in club history, San Antonio FC can celebrate a playoff victory.
The Alamo City club used a strong first-half surge and solid defense to defeat San Diego Loyal SC 2-0 in the United Soccer League Western Conference Quarterfinals at Toyota Field on Friday night and claim the franchise’s first playoff victory since 2017. With the win, San Antonio became the first USL team to advance to the Conference Semifinals.
“I am incredibly proud of the collective,” head coach Alen Marcina said. “They fought for the 90-plus minutes. Their pressing actions were fantastic. As a collective, it was a defensive masterclass. From front to back, we were extremely organized and extremely smart. We scored a couple of nice goals. We knew it would be a tough challenge, but we earned and deserved the win.”
SAFC opened the scoring in the 14th minute when Nathan headed in a perfect free kick from Mohammed Abu for a 1-0 lead. Santiago Patiño made it 2-0 in the 25th minute on another set piece. This time, off a corner kick, Mitchell Taintor headed the ball on goal and it bounced right onto the foot of Patiño for an easy finish. After joining SAFC on emergency loan this past week, goalkeeper Jordan Farr started and made a timely one-on-one save in the first half. Taintor added a crucial clearance in the second half to secure the club’s first clean sheet in postseason play.
“This is the third game in a row we’ve gotten a shutout,” Taintor said. “Everyone has been phenomenal, even the attackers. Everyone has been working their butts off defensively. There’s no excuses. Everyone is held accountable. Everyone is bought in and putting their body on the line for the team, and it showed.”
San Antonio now awaits the winner of tomorrow night’s match between Phoenix Rising and Rio Grande Valley FC Toros. Should RGV win, Toyota Field would host another playoff game. If Phoenix wins, San Antonio will travel to Arizona.