After beating the number one team in the conference one week ago, San Antonio FC had to do it all over again, taking on LA Galaxy II at Toyota Field Saturday night. In the end, LA Galaxy II finished strong for a 3-2 win.
“The game became open very quickly, and we didn’t really want that,” said San Antonio FC Head Coach Darren Powell after the match. “They have some great players, some great forwards and great play, bottom line is, there are things within our defensive shape that we could have done better and there were errors in key moments.”
It didn’t take San Antonio very long at all to open up the scoring, and they did so in just the third minute thanks to a typically stunning free-kick from San Antonio midfielder and captain Rafael Castillo. He lined up the kick from just outside the box and curled it in perfectly beating keeper Clement Diop.
But just two minutes later Los Angeles Galaxy II responded and leveled the scores after a give away at the edge of the box. That allowed LA Galaxy II midfielder Jaime Villarreal to pass the ball in to his brother and fellow LA midfielder Jose Villareal, who easily shot across the face of goal, just out of the reach of San Antonio FC goalkeeper Matt Cardone.
LA Galaxy II took the lead in the 19th minute after a swift counter attack left San Antonio FC scrambling. LA Galaxy II defender Jeffrey Payeras was able to release a striker, whose shot was initially well saved by Cardone. But Los Angeles striker Jack McBean reacted the fastest and scored on the tap-in.
After taking a hydration break due to the extreme heat in San Antonio, LA Galaxy II came out energized and some slick passing saw them add to their lead. Jaime Villarreal laid the ball off to the left for Galaxy II midfielder Byram Rebellon, forcing Cardone off his line and allowing Rebellon to return the favor to Jaime Villarreal, who scored a simple tap-in.
With seven minutes left to play, San Antonio pulled themselves back into the match when a Castillo free-kick was sent into the box. With plenty of San Antonio FC players in the box, the initial shot was saved, but the rebound fell to San Antonio defender Stephen McCarthy who slotted home the tap-in from a tight angle.
“We had our chances tonight,” Powell said. “Maybe more than they did. But we didn’t take ours and they took theirs, and that’s football. It comes down to moments within the game, and if you execute in your moment the score is, probably, going to be more favorable.”
That made for a feisty finish to the match, and the tensions boiled over in stoppage time as LA Galaxy II players took offense to a challenge. That resulted in a minor confrontation, where the referee got barged into by an LA player, but the tensions were quickly vanished by some good management from the officials.
There was an early chance for San Antonio FC in the second minute as San Antonio midfielder Michael Reed was making a nuisance of himself. He stole possession twice and made a run toward the goal, but he shot agonizingly wide.
San Antonio should have had the lead back in the 11th minute when Reed was able to play San Antonio defender Milton Palacios through up the right. He sent a perfect square ball for Jason Johnson, but he wanted too many touches, allowing Los Angeles to clear.
McBean nearly gave LA Galaxy II their fourth goal of the first half in the 40th minute when he hit a perfect curling free-kick. That ball got over the wall, and just out of Cardone’s reach, but could only find the post and fall for Rebellon, whose follow-up was well wide.
With such a big lead, LA Galaxy II was sitting almost all 11 men behind the ball to stifle San Antonio FC. The best chance for San Antonio came in the 66th minute as San Antonio striker Taylor Morgan made a long run across the edge of the box, but his shot was too tame, allowing the keeper to save.
Morgan was at it again, and in the 73rd minute was merely inches away from pulling San Antonio back into the match. He made a long run, leaving LA Galaxy II defenders trailing in his wake and shot, beating the keeper but only sent it over the bar.
Trying to find another late goal to seal a draw against LA Galaxy II, San Antonio FC kept on attacking and another free-kick gave them the chance and the ball broke off the wall falling to Morgan who shot just over the bar.
San Antonio was packing the box in stoppage time and striker Franck Tayou had one last chance to steal a point. He received a high ball and used his strength to control the ball and turn his defender, but his shot was too easy, allowing the keeper to save it.
Top image: Los Angeles Galaxy FC 2 defeats the San Antonio FC 3-2, Saturday, July 23, 2016, at Toyota Field in San Antonio, Texas. Photo by Darren Abate/USL.