San Antonio FC shuts down Colorado Springs yet again, reaches championship final

8,245 fans pack Toyota Field for Western Conference Final Sunday night.

San Antonio FC celebrates their first ever Western Conference Final trophy after defeating the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC 2-0 at Toyota Field on Sunday, November 6, 2022. (Andrew Cely, Copyright 2022 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

SAN ANTONIO – The Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC had not scored a goal against SAFC this season. They hadn’t defeated San Antonio in 2022. In fact, as a franchise, they have never won in the Alamo City.

SAFC’s defense made sure those three facts remained true after their Sunday night meeting in the Western Conference Final. Another sold out crowd witnessed San Antonio FC win their second straight playoff game with a 2-0 victory to reach their first USL Championship Final.

“Incredibly proud, first championship for the club - regular season champions, Western Conference champions,” said head coach Alen Marcina. “What makes this incredibly special is that we got to celebrate it in front of the best fans in the league. There is a sense of pride and joy. That to me is even more special than the cup we earned tonight, having the opportunity to experience it with our fans in our city. Over the moon at the moment.”

With the win, San Antonio FC will host their last game of the season when Louisville City FC comes to town for the USL Championship Final on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at Toyota Field.

“You can’t take these moments for granted, they don’t come around very often,” said Marcina. “I instructed the guys to enjoy it. Take it in, tomorrow they’ll have off and then Tuesday it’s back to business.”

Thanks to goals from Connor Maloney and Santiago Patiño, San Antonio FC defeated Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC 2-0 in front of a packed Toyota Field to claim the franchise's first USL Western Conference Title.

San Antonio FC struck first in the 23rd minute when defender Connor Maloney, who was starting for the injured PC who broke three ribs last weekend and required surgery, spun away from the defense and nailed the goal from the top of the box thanks to a cross from Santiago Patiño. The playoff goal was Maloney’s first in the United Soccer League.

“It’s all about your first touch and I had the first touch to give me a little space to get the shot off,” explained Maloney. “I just tried to get it off as quick as I could and I don’t think the goalkeeper could see it. He made a late dive and I don’t think he saw it because of the defender in front of him.”

SAFC sealed the deal in stoppage time when SAFC went on a fast break. Santiago Patiño finished the break with his third goal of the 2022 postseason thanks to an assist from Cristian Parano.

“Cristian coming on was a big spark for us‚” Maloney added. “Santi just keeps doing it over and over again. It’s really not a surprise to us.”

DEFENSE HELPS WIN THE DAY

The Colorado Springs Switchbacks never had any real opportunities to score, thanks to the SAFC defense. The Switchbacks had 12 shots on goal but only two shots were on target.

“Night’s like this remind me that goalkeeping isn’t so hard all the time, I think I had three actions where I was like ‘oh, that was difficult’,” said goalkeeper Jordan Farr. “But other than that, it was a pretty easy night for me. That says everything about our team. Right now, we’re playing incredible soccer and I think our defense is outstanding. Front to back, I couldn’t be happier from this group.”

Sunday’s win marks the second straight shutout for SAFC and third shutout in their last four matches.

CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW

The final opponent for San Antonio FC in 2022 will be the Eastern Conference Champs, Louisville City FC, who won in extra-time Saturday night 1-0 over the Tampa Bay Rowdies thanks to their midfielder Elijah Wynder. The 19-year-old Wynder has scored in back-to-back playoff matches.

Louisville City FC has played in the championship final four times which is the most in league history and last won the title in 2018.

San Antonio and Louisville have never faced each other in USL competition.

Tickets for the USL Championship Final go on sale Monday morning at 10 a.m. at SanAntonioFC.com.

MORE HONORS ON THE WAY?

The SAFC squad and their fans may have even more to celebrate early this week.

Goalkeeper Jordan Farr is a finalist for Goalkeeper of the Year and defender Mitchell Taintor is a finalist for Defender of the Year. Both awards will be announced Tuesday.

Head coach Alen Marcina is nominated for Coach of the Year, which will be announced Wednesday.

Daniel P. Villanueva has worked with KSAT 12 for over 19 years and is an award-winning producer. To submit story ideas, email dvillanueva@ksat.com


About the Authors:

Daniel P. Villanueva has been with KSAT 12 since 2003 and is the producer of our weekly sports show, "Instant Replay." Villanueva is a graduate of St. Mary's University and is a TAPB and Lone Star Emmy award winner.

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.