SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio FC booked its place in the 2020 USL Championship Playoffs and sealed first place in Group D as it took a thrilling 3-2 victory against Texas rival Austin Bold FC on Wednesday night at Toyota Field. Jose Gallegos scored the winner for the hosts, who rebounded strongly from their first loss of the season over the weekend.
San Antonio took less than a minute to grab the lead, in fact, as Luis Solignac notched his eighth goal of the campaign. Just 50 seconds in, the Argentine slipped a pass to Cristian Parano midway inside the Austin half and then made a run to the right side of the penalty area that Parano picked out to set up a first-time finish high into the net.
Recent SAFC arrival Jordan Perruzza almost made it two in the 20th minute as he drove past a pair of defenders while cutting in from the right side and then curled a shot from the top-right edge of the penalty area off the far post, from whence it caromed away to safety as Austin breathed a sigh of relief.
The first good chance for Austin arrived 14 minutes later as Ish Jome first a low shot toward the right corner from almost 30 yards that San Antonio goalkeeper Matt Cardone had to parry wide and behind for a corner. Bold FC’s Sonny Guadarrama then hit the woodwork as well with a beautiful shot from distance that hit the crossbar and went high into the air before Beto Avila was ruled offside going for the rebound.
Austin’s Billy Forbes also threatened before the halftime break as he forced an excellent save from former teammate Cardone in the San Antonio goal, but five minutes into the second half the visitors pulled level as Sean McFarlane delivered a low cross from the right to the top of the penalty area that Avila was able to stretch and turn home.
It didn’t take long for San Antonio to respond, though, as Parano put the hosts back ahead six minutes later. Picking up possession in the right channel, Parano cut across the top of the penalty area and as he reached the center of the field he delivered a curling shot from 20 yards that picked out the top-left corner of the net.
As if taking on a dare, Austin produced its own spectacular finish in response as McFarlane took on his marker on the right side as he drove into the penalty area before unleashing a blistering shot to the top-right corner of the net that made it 2-2 with just over an hour played.
Ten minutes later San Antonio regained the lead for a second time, though, as Ignacio Bailone kept the ball in play deep in the far left corner of the field and swung in a deep cross that reached Gallegos in the far side of the penalty area. The U.S. youth international took a step to create space and then slid his finish through the legs of a defender and just inside the left post.
Solignac almost added a fourth with an audacious effort from just inside his own half as Austin goalkeeper Diego Restrepo had come well off his line with the visitors throwing numbers forward, but the ball went just wide of the right post. From there, however, the hosts were able to see out the win defensively and remain in contention for the top seed overall in the Western Conference.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Jose Gallegos, San Antonio FC – Gallegos scored the game-winning goal, also notched an assist and recorded three shots and two chances created overall to help his side to victory.