SAN ANTONIO – Santiago Patiño scored a pair of goals around a headed finish by Samuel Adeniran as San Antonio FC took a 3-1 victory against Louisville City FC to claim the 2022 USL Championship Final before a sellout crowd of 8,534 fans at Toyota Field on Sunday night.
Patiño scored moments before the halftime break to put the visitors ahead before two goals six minutes apart staked the hosts to a three-goal lead with 20 minutes remaining. Brian Ownby scored in the 78th minute for the visitors, but San Antonio closed the door from there, and is now undefeated in its last 46 games in which it has scored the opening goal over the past two seasons.
The hosts were handed a major opportunity in just the third minute when Patiño was brought down just inside the penalty area by LouCity goalkeeper Danny Faundez, resulting in a penalty kick. Mitchell Taintor stepped up for San Antonio but pulled his left-footed shot wide of the right post to keep the game scoreless.
San Antonio went close again in the 13th minute when Cristian Parano released Patiño on a counterattack on the right, only for the Colombian’s driven low cross through the six-yard area being just out of the reach of Adeniran. A Texas native, Adeniran struck the post three minutes later with a rasping shot from the top-left edge of the penalty area that crashed against the right post as the hosts continued to carry more attacking threat.
LouCity began to come into the game after sustaining pressure for the opening half-hour. Manny Perez looked dangerous on the right flank, but the visitors were unable to find a clear opening in the SAFC penalty area. Instead, San Antonio grabbed the lead in first half stoppage as for a second time on the night the hosts were awarded a penalty kick. LouCity’s Wes Charpie was whistled for a handball on a corner kick and Patiño made no mistake, shooting into the right corner to give SAFC the lead.
The visitors adjusted their structure at halftime, inserting Ownby off the bench as an extra attacker, and it almost immediately paid dividends. The veteran gained possession of a loose ball near the top of the penalty area and quickly fired a turning shot toward the bottom-left corner that SAFC goalkeeper Jordan Farr just kept out. The hosts continued to be dangerous on the break, though, and Adeniran forced a big save by Faundez as he got a forearm to the shot from the left and bounced the ball over the crossbar.
The 6-foot-4 Adeniran continued to prove a handful when San Antonio turned over possession and went close on the hour-mark as he held off a defender but shot just wide of the left post. Four minutes later, his goal arrived as a free kick from the right was delivered into the left side of the penalty area, headed across goal by Taintor, where Adeniran rose highest to loop his header into the top-right corner of the net.
Patiño added his second of the night – and fifth of the postseason – in the 70th minute on the move of the night. Parano broke through two defenders in his own half before releasing Abu down the left, from where the Ghanaian strode forward and centered for Patiño, who finished low from the center of the penalty area.
LouCity pulled a goal back with 12 minutes to go when Farr was unable to handle a looping cross by Amadou Dia cleanly in the center of the penalty area, allowing the ball to fall to Ownby for a calm finish over the defenders covering on the goal line. There was no way back for the visitors, however, as San Antonio saw out its victory, remaining on the front foot as often as it could to close out its first title.
USL Championship Final Most Valuable Player
Santiago Patiño, San Antonio FC – The Colombian capped an outstanding postseason with his second two-goal performance, delivering a key goal from the spot right before halftime before finishing the move of the match with 20 minutes to go.
SA – Santiago Patiño (Penalty Kick) 45+3’
SA – Samuel Adeniran (Mitchell Taintor) 64’
SA - Santiago Patiño (Mohamed Abu) 70’
LOU – Brian Ownby 78’