Image: Swope Park Rangers
San Antonio FC fell 2-0 to Swope Park Rangers on Wednesday night at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City. SAFC has lost their first two outings of a three-match away trip, being outscored 4-1 in the process.
“It was a fairly even game and that was always going to be the case, and in these games the first goal is very valuable.,” Said SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell. “There are many aspects we need to improve upon, but the most important thing we need to focus on is regrouping and pulling together over the next couple of days.”
SAFC made only one change to their starting lineup following Saturday’s 2-1 loss away to Tulsa Roughnecks FC, swapping Connor Presley in for Cesar Elizondo in the center of three attacking midfielders. Perhaps it’s that lack of rotation which caused SAFC to lose steam as the minutes ticked away, particularly problematic when they don’t capitalize on the chances they did create.
Both sides found chances in the first half but failed to finish off moves and unlock the defense ahead of them, particularly as the half wore on. SAFC had the better share of chances while Swope had more in terms of possession and passing.
The hosts started the second half with more energy though and pinpoint passing around SAFC’s goal in the 51st minute saw Tyler Blackwood cross in from the left side of the box where fellow forward Hadji Barry smashed the ball in from a few yards out to open the scoring. Barry scored for the seventh match running , setting a new USL record.
Blackwood doubled his team’s lead and assured their victory in the 75th minute as he shook SAFC’s defenders and headed in from a few yards out after midfielder Rassambek Akhmatov swung a ball in from the left.
Despite going down multiple times, SAFC never looked to step their efforts up as much as one would expect and fans would hope. Their nine shots on the night matched Swope, but only one was on target and six of them came from outside the box, showing SAFC’s inability to break down the hosts.
“At this point of the season it’s about getting the wins that are necessary to get into the playoffs,” said SAFC defender Cyprian Hedrick. “At times like this we need to come together. This is going to be a big test for us because we’re going to have to unite, and although we dropped two games on the road, we can still bounce back.”
SAFC will close out their road trip against Saint Louis FC on Saturday. The only previous match between the sides in St. Louis ended in a 2-0 win for SAFC in 2016, while they also won 2-1 at home in their 2018 home opener.
Like Swope, Saint Louis is just above SAFC in the USL Western Conference standings and the result will have huge playoff implications as SAFC currently sits in ninth place, two points behind a Reno 1868 FC side with two matches in hand.