PORTLAND - With their playoff hopes hanging in the balance, San Antonio FC's offense delivered in historic fashion.
Forward Ever Guzman tallied the first hat trick in club history, Brian Gomez added a goal of his own and San Antonio fended off a furious comeback to top Portland Timbers 2 on the road, 4-3. This is the Alamo City club's third road victory this season.
"It's always good to win on the road, and this was our last away match of the season in a wonderful stadium," head coach Darren Powell said. "It was good to see our players respond after last week and come out here and give a good, gutsy performance."
Guzman opened the scoring in the sixth minute of play, finishing a runner from midfielder Cristian Parano. He doubled the lead just six minutes later. Midfielder Jack Barmby found him in stride with a long pass from midfield and Guzman chipped it over the goalkeeper and in. The Timbers cut the lead in half with a goal in the 25th minute, but SAFC responded late in the first half. Another beautiful pass from midfielder Walter Restrepo found Brian Gomez cutting into the box, and he finished with the left foot to give the Alamo City club a 3-1 lead at halftime.
In the second half, Guzman made history. In the 67th minute, Restrepo fed another pass into the box and Guzman finished a perfectly-timed runner to complete the first hat trick in SAFC history. It's also the first hat trick in San Antonio professional soccer history since 2012, when Pablo Campos accomplished the feat with the San Antonio Scorpions. The goal gave San Antonio a 4-1 lead and proved to be the game-winner, as the club survived a furious rally to win 4-3. Goalkeeper Matt Cardone recorded 13 saves.
"I'm very happy," sad Guzman. "It comes down to hard work by everybody, and I was lucky enough to finish the chances. This is the second hat trick I've ever scored, and it'll always be special to score one."
With the three points earned by this victory, San Antonio now has 44 total points, tied with the LA Galaxy II for the 9th playoff spot in the Western Conference. Los Angeles, New Mexico United (11th, 42 points) and Las Vegas Lights FC (12th, 41 points) all play Saturday night. SAFC will wrap up their regular season schedule next Saturday at Toyota Field, hosting Colorado Springs Switchbacks at 7:30 p.m.
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