Life as a United Soccer League club finally got under way for San Antonio FC on Sunday night and it was everything that the organization hoped for. San Antonio FC managed a big 3-0 win against the Seattle Sounders FC 2 at Starfire Sports Complex in Seattle riding an early Jason Johnson brace, before capping it with a late goal to start its record with three points.
San Antonio FC will play its first home game on Saturday, April 9, at Toyota Field. They face Swope Park Rangers from Kansas City.
It was a perfect start for the club after they weathered some early pressure and scored after just two minutes of play on their first ever attack. Some crisp passing gave San Antonio their opening goal as Greg Cochrane was able to turn the ball under pressure. That saw him play through Jason Johnson who then sent a shot across the face, beating the keeper and hitting the back of the net.
After just six more minutes a horrible defensive error from the Sounders’ Tobi Jnohope, who let the ball bounce over his head, gave San Antonio a second goal. The bounce left Jnohope scrambling and Johnson with an easy task as he rounded the keeper and simply rolled the ball in to the back of the net.
There were nervous moments for San Antonio FC in the 12th minute when a lack of communication nearly resulted in an own goal. Goalkeeper Josh Ford rushed out, but the call was not heard by his defender, who looked to head it back to him, luckily for the defense, an extra man came back to clear the ball.
Seattle’s first real chance came in the 21st minute of the match when Myron Samuel made a surging run through the middle of the pitch. With a runner to his right looking dangerous, Samuel opted instead to go on his own and shot right at Ford.
That started a good passage for the Sounders as they really started to have chances – another one came just two minutes later. After another great run, San Antonio made a block, which lead to some pinball in the box and created some nervous moments before San Antonio cleared the ball to safety.
The ball continued to stay with Seattle, but they just couldn’t create any real opportunities, until they had their best chance of the half through Andy Craven. Some stunning passing through six different feet allowed Andy Craven a chance from the edge of the area. Craven’s shot had Ford scrambling but he got down well to make a strong save, which allowed San Antonio to clear.
Seattle started the second half aggressively, needing to overcome the two-goal deficit and just three minutes in they had a chance. After some nice ball movement on the right, the ball fell to Craven in the box, in space. That saw him play the ball across the face, looking for Nick Hinds, but it was just beyond the Seattle man, going out for a goal kick.
San Antonio responded and in the 53rd minute had their first chance of the half, working the ball up their right side, allowing Greg Cochrane to send in a cross. That ball found Michael Reed, but he was forced wide and could only find the side netting. But on the resulting goal kick San Antonio stole possession, allowing a quick counter attack, which saw the ball passed back to Reed at the top of the box but he fired his shot high and wide.
Plenty of possession was held by the Sounders but almost all of that was deep in their own half as they posed little threat to San Antonio FC. Their best chance came off a corner in the 65th minute which was cleared by San Antonio, who launched a counter. That was started by Shawn Chin, who ran down the right and played it through for Reed, whose cross found Cochrane but he could only shoot wide.
The second half was a much stronger performance for Seattle who created chances, and as the clock wound down, got more desperate. In the 72nd minute Craven turned well, and probably should have had a goal as his shot went away but was deflected, allowing Ford time to make the save.
The match was finally sealed in the 79th minute after San Antonio scored their third goal of the match. It started from Cochrane which found Carlos Alvarez who controlled and was able to set up Rafael Castillo. The San Antonio veteran was able to get a shot away, which was blocked well by the Seattle defense, only to fall to fresh substitute Fejiro Okiomah who sent it powerfully along the ground, past the keeper for a 3-0 lead.
With barely any time left to get those three goals, they needed to salvage anything from the match, Seattle made an attempt but came up well short. San Antonio defended strongly and easily held on to their 3-0 win, to open their campaign.
Top image: Jason Johnson celebrates the first goal in San Antonio FC history with his teammates. Photo courtesy of United Soccer League