San Antonio FC's seven-goal outburst against the Charleston Battery set a club record as the side delivered a near-flawless performance. | Photo courtesy Henry Taylor / Charleston Battery
More than anything, it was the incredible efficiency with which San Antonio FC went about its business that left the biggest impression on Saturday night.
With seven goals on 13 shots and just 128 completed passes, the defending USL Championship title holders put together a display against Eastern Conference leader the Charleston Battery at Patriots Point that set a club record for goals in a game, but also one that showed the maximization of the style it has powered its way to success with in the past two years.
“When it rains, it pours for the strikers,” said SAFC defender Mitchell Taintor, back in the lineup after injury. “It wasn’t happening for them in the first part of the season, but it rained tonight, and it damn well poured.”
In fairness to San Antonio’s strikers, part of the reason why it wasn’t happening for them was the quality of chances they were being presented. In none of the club’s home draws with Sacramento Republic FC, Phoenix Rising FC and Las Vegas Lights FC, or its road defeat to Louisville City FC, were they given the opportunities that Tani Oluwaseyi, Samuel Adeniran and Ignacio Bailone got to feast on against the Battery.
“We got out-coached, we got out-played, we got out-worked,” said Battery Head Coach Ben Pirmann. “It just wasn’t anywhere near good enough.”
Charleston’s defending on the opening two goals was ragged. It put the hosts in a position few have recovered from to even salvage a point since the start of the 2021 season. After that, San Antonio was able to use its speed in advancing possession to make incisive moves to devastating effect against a Battery defense that was constantly caught chasing.
At the forefront was Oluwaseyi, who after scoring the game-winning goal in SAFC’s 2-1 victory against Las Vegas a week ago in his debut for the club on loan from Minnesota United FC was involved in five of the side’s goals on Saturday night. The level of movement and finishing the 23-year-old has shown in a short run has been a cut above and makes him the game-changer alongside Adeniran this side needs.
It’s another smart piece of business for San Antonio, which hasn’t been shy in going after solutions to its squad make-up in the same way it goes after opposing back lines.
“He had a tremendous performance, game-changing speed,” said San Antonio Head Coach Alen Marcina. “Put away his chances, he was a constant threat with his vertical runs beyond the opponents last lines. It’s what we ask of our strikers, and he executed the tasks as good as it gets. I’m proud of him, and I’m proud of the collective.”
Tani Oluwaseyi has introduced himself to San Antonio FC's fans in fine style, scoring in each of his first two contests for the side while also notching a pair of assists on Saturday night in Charleston. | Photo courtesy Henry Taylor / Charleston Battery
San Antonio remains on the road next weekend with a visit to Detroit City FC before a run of three consecutive home contests back at Toyota Field. While it’s probably asking the impossible for a repeat performance in terms of goals – Saturday marked only the 19th time in the USL Championship’s regular season a team had scored seven goals or more in a game – SAFC’s upcoming opponents will need to play with a defensive efficiency and intensity to match what the defending title holders showed they can bring.
“There were some expectations of us tonight and the biggest thing was just working hard, committing, just leaving 110 percent out on the field and I think that’s exactly what we did,” said Oluwaseyi. “Couldn’t be happier for the guys, every single person who played tonight played their butts off. Put their hearts in every tackle, every pass, everything.
“It was just incredible overall.”