Seemingly unfazed by the three-day turnaround, San Antonio FC took control of their match against Laredo Heat with a pair of first half goals and cruised to yet another victory at Toyota Field, 2-0.
The win is the club's fourth in the last five home contests, and advances them into the third round of the US Open Cup.
“I thought the guys came out with a good, honest performance," head coach Darren Powell said. "It’s great to give young players an opportunity, and they handled themselves well, so collectively we’re pleased with the group for the performance. There are always things we can work on, but now it’s just a matter of winning and advancing in this competition, and now we’ll go on to the next round.”
Midfielder Jack Barmby tallied assists on both goals. The first was a corner kick headed in by defender Pascal Eboussi in the 17th minute.
“It’s one of those games you just have to get through," Barmby said. "It was always going to be a scrappy game, and credit to them. They played well, but we got the win and we’re through, which is what we wanted.”
Barmby then followed that up in the 42nd minute by finding Ever Guzman cutting into the box for a quick strike. The ball ricocheted off the crossbar but crossed the line just enough to count as the second goal of the night.
“It was important to earn a win today to build confidence and the team worked well to accomplish that," Guzman said. "We’ll put this game behind us and move on to the third round and keep this form going.”
With the game in hand in the second half, three local talents got the chance to sub in, making their professional debuts. San Antonio natives Jose Gallegos and Carson Price and Devine's Leo Torres all made an impact in their time on the field. Gallegos in particular featured prominently in several scoring chances throughout the second half.
“You always look to give guys opportunities when it’s appropriate because they need to get a taste of it to move forward," Powell explained. "Tonight was a wonderful opportunity to do so. You can’t predetermine the score of the match, but you go in thinking you might have an opportunity to rest some players and give others opportunities. All three of them adapted and played well. Now they've had a taste of it.”
"It was good to see the young guys come into the game," Barmby said. "Believe me, they're good players. They're going to play on this team if they're good enough. It was great to see and it was a great, all-around professional performance. They went out and expressed themselves. That's what we like to see and what the coaching staff likes to see."
"They've all come in and worked hard," Guzman said. "They're developing well as professionals and they're the future of San Antonio FC, so it's good for them to get this experience and hopefully some of them get a look at the national stage. They're young and they're growing but there are a lot of kids like them who are competing and working hard to get to where they are right now. The most important thing for them is to enjoy it, work hard and continue developing."
SAFC will return to USL Championship action Saturday hosting the Tulsa Roughnecks at 7:30 p.m. The club will then face Austin Bold in the third round of the US Open Cup the following week.
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