SAN ANTONIO – A goal and assist by Santiago Patiño and the first league goal by Connor Maloney sent San Antonio FC to its first USL Championship Final in club history as the hosts took a 2-0 victory against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC before a sellout crowd of 8,245 fans at Toyota Field in the Western Conference Final of the 2022 USL Championship Playoffs presented by Hisense.
San Antonio FC will play host to Eastern Conference title winner Louisville City FC in the first meeting of No. 1 seeds in the USL Championship Final’s history next Sunday night at Toyota Field, with kickoff scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET and the game set to air live on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and SiriusXM FC.
Neither side was able to take control in a chippy start to the game that saw more fouls than serious forays forward. San Antonio’s Justin Dhillon had a chance in the 13th minute after interplay with Shannon Gomez on the left headed away by Colorado Springs’ Triston Hodge as he tried to curl an effort toward the far post, but 10 minutes later maybe the most unlikely player for the hosts found the net.
Maloney scored his first goal in the USL Championship as Patiño kept an attack alive after having his initial shot blocked on the right. The Colombian recycled play with Carter Manley and then delivered a low cross that found Maloney 10 yards from goal, and the midfielder dug out a shot that found the bottom-left corner of the net.
The Switchbacks tried to find a way back into the game after being limited previously and began to make some inroads late in the first half. At each turn, however, San Antonio’s defense was there to ward off danger, with Michee Ngalina having a shot blocked before Matt Mahoney’s header off a cross by Macauley King was easily gathered by SAFC goalkeeper Jordan Farr.
Colorado Springs continued to hold more possession as the second half began but were unable to find a path through a compact San Antonio defense. The hosts, meanwhile, threatened just past the hour-mark as Samuel Adeniran outdueled his defender as the battled on a counterattack to retain possession but saw his low shot saved by Switchbacks goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell.
Eight minutes later, Sebastian Anderson had to that point the best chance of the night for the visitors as the Switchback were finally able to create space for a shot from the edge of the penalty area that was saved by Farr, but chances like that proved few overall. A missed clearances in Colorado Springs’ end gave Adeniran another chance that he blasted off target, while Cristian Parano had a low effort saved with eight minutes to go for the hosts as San Antonio looked to close out the game.
As the Switchbacks pushed for a late equalizer only to see shots by Isaac Foster and Anderson go off target and a penalty shout waved away, San Antonio ended the game with its second. In the 11th minute of stoppage time, Parano broke forward on a counterattack and set up Patiño for a low finish to put the game away.
USLChampionship.com Player of the Match
Connor Maloney, San Antonio FC – Maloney scored the opening goal of the game and won 3 of 3 tackles defensively in a strong all-around performance for the hosts.
SA – Connor Maloney (Santiago Patiño) 23’
SA – Santiago Patiño (Cristiano Parano) 90+11’