Tony Taylor scored five goals in 32 regular-season appearances for Ottawa Fury FC last season, and now joins San Antonio FC for its final stretch of the campaign. | Photo courtesy Steve Kingsman / Freestyle Photography / Ottawa Fury FC
San Antonio FC announced the signing of veteran forward Tony Taylor on Friday, looking to add to its attacking options for the final stretch of seven games that will determine whether the Alamo City side is part of the Western Conference field for the 2019 USL Championship Playoffs.
So, what should SAFC fans expect from the 30-year-old?
A free agent since being released from Puskas AFC in July, Taylor had a strong pedigree coming up through the youth ranks, representing both the United States U-20 and U-23 National Teams before making the switch to represent Panama on the senior international level.
The promise from those early years, however, has never quite seemed to be fulfilled in the years since. Taylor scored nine goals in 52 appearances for Estoril Praia and won the Portuguese Second Division in 2011-12 with the club as it moved into the top flight, but had only one goal in 15 games in the first division the following year.
Returning to the United States to play for New York City FC, Taylor scored two goals in 17 games in Major League Soccer in a two-year stint that was interrupted by a ruptured ACL that brought his 2015 season to an end. Last year he scored five goals in 32 league appearances in the Championship for Ottawa Fury FC, but while his conversion rate of 16.1 percent was positive, his shot rate of one every 63.6 minutes was less so.
That’s not to say Taylor can’t be a difference-maker for San Antonio down the stretch. He has a powerful shot from distance that saw two of his five goals for Fury FC come from outside the penalty area and is comfortable shooting with either foot. He also saw two efforts come back off the woodwork, part of a chronically unlucky Ottawa side in 2018 that hit the post or crossbar a league-high 24 times.
Taylor has also brought some tremendous creativity in his finishing, including this wonderful goal against Penn FC a season ago.
San Antonio has worked throughout this season to add to its attack, which had scored 25 goals through its first 18 games before the loan arrival of Frank Lopez and breakthrough of Cristian Parano saw the side register 20 goals in its last nine outings going into Saturday’s home clash with OKC Energy FC.
Taylor isn’t likely to provide the sort of boost that Lopez’s arrival two months ago did, but in spot situations he should help SAFC’s attacking rotation down the final stretch.