SAN ANTONIO – Justin Dhillon scored an outstanding game-winner in second-half stoppage time as San Antonio FC took a 2-1 victory against El Paso Locomotive FC on Saturday night at Toyota Field that snapped the Mountain Division leader’s undefeated streak at 10 games and provided a lift for the hosts in their return to action.
The game opened patiently as neither side created much in the opening 10 minutes before San Antonio’s Cam Lindley created the first real chance on a free kick from the left that he angled into the penalty area for a header by Nathan Fogaca that was comfortably saved by El Paso goalkeeper Logan Ketterer. Lindley then rang the woodwork in the 25th minute off a designed set piece that saw PC roll a free kick on the right near the goal line back to the top of the penalty area where the midfielder struck first time but saw his effort hit the crossbar and got behind for a goal kick.
The hosts took the lead seven minutes later, however, as they turned possession over in the center circle, which allowed Jose Gallegos to break forward into space and find Marcus Epps in the left channel. Epps controlled as he moved into the penalty area and then arrowed a precise low finish into the right corner of the net that bent just around the dive of Ketterer.
Locomotive FC had few clear chances in the first half, and it wasn’t until after the break that they got a good look at goal as Dylan Mares fired a shot over the crossbar. The visitors continued to grow into the game as Bryam Rebellon curled a shot from 25 yards that San Antonio goalkeeper Matt Cardone parried away, but in the 54th minute Locomotive FC leveled as Nick Ross delivered a corner from the left that was headed home by Sebastian Velasquez.
Epps almost set up a chance for the hosts to regain the lead as he cleverly beat his man in the left side of the penalty area but couldn’t direct his cross toward Fogaca in the six-yard area for a potential finish. Gallegos then set up Dhillon for a good opportunity with 14 minutes to go as he slipped a pass between defenders into the left side of the penalty area, only for Dhillon’s shot to be saved well by Ketterer.
Locomotive FC also had a good late chance five minutes later as Luis Solignac played in Josue Aaron Gomez for a shot that was parried by Cardone, but it was the hosts that pushed late for a winner. Epps almost found the net in the final minute as he flicked on a corner from the right by Lindley that hit the outside of the right post, but in the third minute of stoppage time Dhillon’s moment arrived as he controlled a long ball forward by Jasser Khmiri near the left flank and cut centrally, weaving through defenders before firing a low shot into the right corner of the net that sent the hosts to a crucial three points.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Jose Gallegos, San Antonio FC – Gallegos set up Marcus Epps for SAFC’s opening goal and had five key passes overall while winning 8 of 11 duels and completing 17 of 24 passes overall.
SA – Marcus Epps (Jose Gallegos) 32’
ELP – Sebastian Velasquez (Nick Ross) 54’
SA – Justin Dhillon (Jasser Khmiri) 90+3’