San Antonio FC climbed to ninth place in the Western Conference standings ahead of this weekend’s action as Ever Guzman’s hat trick led the playoff hopeful to a vital 4-3 victory over the Portland Timbers 2 on Friday night at Providence Park.
PORTLAND, Ore. – A hat trick from Ever Guzman led San Antonio to a massive road victory over Portland at Providence Park. The visitors took the lead inside of six minutes with a quick counterattacking move that saw Cristian Parano carry the ball into the Portland half before playing a through pass to Guzman, who made no mistake with a right-footed finish past an onrushing Aljaz Ivacic that kissed the left post on its way into the back of the net. Guzman doubled his tally in stunning style just six minutes later, running behind the Portland defense and producing a sumptuous first-time chipped finish to Jack Barmby’s ball over the top that left Ivacic with no chance. The hosts cut the deficit in half from a free kick in the 25th minute as Cristian Ojeda drove a left-footed effort over the SAFC wall and just inside Matt Cardone’s left-hand post, leaving the goalkeeper rooted to the goal line as the ball whizzed into the net. Ojeda had a good look at an equalizer nine minutes later when Eryk Williamson found the midfielder in some space on the right side of the penalty area, but he skied his shot well over the crossbar. San Antonio restored its two-goal advantage with six minutes remaining in the first half when Brian Gomez chested down Walter Restrepo’s chipped pass and picked out the bottom-right corner with a left-footed finish. The visitors continued to push for a fourth as Parano saw his shot cleared off the line by T2 captain Todd Wharton just before the break and Gomez forced Ivacic into a save at his near post with a right-footed shot from the right side of the box just after the hour-mark. SAFC defender Kai Greene made a tremendous sliding challenge to divert Ryan Sierakowski’s shot over the crossbar and deny what looked to be a sure goal in the 65th minute and Guzman completed his hat trick at the other end two minutes later, side-footing Restrepo’s left-wing cross past Ivacic from close range after getting behind the Portland defense once again. The home side continued to push to get back into the game as Cardone made one strong stop on a curling effort from Ojeda in the 84th minute, but the San Antonio goalkeeper was beaten two minutes later when Williamson faked a long-range shot and rolled a pass to Giovanni Calixtro to tuck into the bottom-right corner from 12 yards out. Portland winger Bryan Hurtado spurned a glorious chance from the corner of the six-yard box in the 90th minute, finding the side netting, but Sierakowski volleyed home Wharton’s cutback in the second minute of stoppage time to give his side a chance with 90 seconds to play. However, the hosts weren’t able to find an equalizer as San Antonio hung on for all three points.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Ever Guzman, San Antonio FC – Guzman netted the 20th hat trick of the 2019 Championship campaign on four shots and completed 78 percent of his passes to help his side to its most important road victory of the season.