COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Nathan Fogaca scored twice as San Antonio FC took a 3-2 victory against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC on Saturday afternoon at Weidner Field in a thrilling contest that produced end-to-end action and an eight-save performance by SAFC goalkeeper Matt Cardone to preserve the win.
Looking to end a seven-game winless streak, San Antonio almost struck early as Fogaca beat his marker to a 50-50 ball and broke into the left side of the penalty area but shot wide of the near post. The Brazilian made no mistake in the seventh minute as the visitors went ahead after Emil Cuello turned over possession in the Switchbacks’ half and quickly fed Fogaca for a clipped finish into the left side of the net.
The Switchbacks quickly responded seven minutes later as Michee Ngalina seized upon a moment of hesitancy in possession by San Antonio’s Axel Sjoberg near the halfway line on the right to steal possession and surge forward into space. Ngalina cut past one sliding attempt to block before having his shot saved by San Antonio’s Matt Cardone, but the rebound fell to Hadji Barry, who feinted a shot before connecting just well enough to finish for his 13th goal of the season.
Fogaca almost restored San Antonio’s lead in the 21st minute as he broke out on a counterattack following a Colorado Springs corner kick. The Brazilian was chased by Philip Mayaka to block his initial shot, but with Switchbacks goalkeeper Sean Melvin off his line Fogaca tried a chip that was headed away from inside the six-yard area by Beverly Makangila.
San Antonio went back ahead three minutes later, however, as Jose Gallegos rip from long range went off the arm of Colorado Springs defender Michael Edwards inside the top of the penalty area. PC stepped up to the spot and fired high into the top-left corner of the net to leave Melvin little chance to save.
Colorado Springs’ attack began to settle in as the half went on and twice Cardone had to make big saves to keep the visitors ahead. The first came 11 minutes before halftime as Barry played a slide-rule pass to a cutting Ngalina into the left side of the penalty area for a first-time shot Cardone saved before Ngalina – falling under pressure – sent wide of the left post. Four minutes later off a corner kick from the left, the ball fell to Makangila for a side-winder shot that Cardone tipped over the crossbar.
Those saves proved key two minutes before the halftime break as San Antonio was awarded its second penalty kick of the half as Sam Gleadle latched onto a nice through-ball by Jose Gallegos and was ruled to have been brought down by Melvin. Fogaca took the second spot kick and again went to the left side as Melvin dove the opposite way, putting SAFC ahead by two.
San Antonio nearly added to its lead two minutes into the second half as the Switchbacks defense lost track of Marcus Epps allowing Cam Lindley to send him on a breakaway in the left channel, but the wingers shot hit the base of the left post and caromed away to safety. Gallegos also had a big chance with 18 minutes to go to open his account for the season as he cut through two defenders on the left by sent his curling finish over the crossbar.
The Switchbacks pulled a goal back a minute later as Edwards played a perfect ball over the top for Zach Zandi to run onto, and the second-half substitute produced a beautiful, lobbed finish from just outside the area to beat Cardone as he came off his line. Colorado Springs then had a big chance to level the game with 10 minutes to go as Deshane Beckford hustled through defenders into the right side of the penalty area and shot to the left corner of the net. Cardone parried the shot, but it came straight to Matt Mahoney, who controlled nicely but then blazed his shot from eight yards over the crossbar.
Cardone came up with another big save to keep the visitors ahead with a minute to go as Beckford cut in from the left side and sent a curling shot to the far post only for the San Antonio shot-stopper to get a fingertip to the effort and send it off target. Beckford then went close again with a near-post shot from the right side of the box that was also parried behind, but San Antonio held on late to take a big three points to move closer to the playoff positions.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Nathan Fogaca, San Antonio FC – Fogaca scored his first two league goals in San Antonio’s colors to help the side earn its first road victory of the season while finishing the game with seven shots and two key passes as well.
SA – Nathan Fogaca (Emil Cuello) 7’
COS – Hadji Barry 14’
SA – PC (Penalty Kick) 24’
SA – Nathan Fogaca (Penalty Kick) 43’
COS – Zach Zandi (Michael Edwards) 73’