Home Feature Battle for #1: Breaking down the final month of 2017 for SAFC...

Battle for #1: Breaking down the final month of 2017 for SAFC and Real Monarchs SLC

267
0
SHARE
Photo Courtesy Darren Abate/San Antonio FC

One year ago, San Antonio FC was 90-plus minutes away from a playoff berth, facing their in-state rivals RGV FC Toros. SAFC walked off the pitch to a 2-0 defeat and their hopes for the postseason over for 2016.

Fast forward just a year later and San Antonio FC has clinched their first playoff berth in team history. The boys accomplished the first of many goals for their second season of existence with a 1-0 win over Orange County SC last Wednesday in California.

“It’s always great to reach a milestone,” SAFC defender Ben Newnam said. “This was one of the first goals we set this year, and this being the first time in club history that we make the playoffs is big time.”

Just like the San Antonio Spurs, SAFC is not satisfied with just clinching a spot in the playoffs.

They want more.

They want the top spot in the Western Conference.

Wednesday’s win moved San Antonio within four points of the league-leading Real Monarchs SLC, who SAFC defeated in dramatic fashion to kick off their current four-game road series.

Coming into play this weekend, SAFC has 52 points and Real Monarchs sits atop the Western Conference with 56 points. With every point being crucial, San Antonio knows they have a chance at the number one seed and the Regular Season Championship.

“We worked very hard and put ourselves in a position to get three points, and we’re pleased to be part of SAFC history by earning a playoff berth,” SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell said. “We have a lot of season left to play and we want to continue getting better, and we want to make sure we put on good performances the rest of the season.”

Both clubs have six matches remaining in the 2017 season, but SAFC may have a significant advantage when you breakdown the remaining schedule for both teams.

# 2 – San Antonio FC (52 points) remaining schedule:
@ Swope Park Rangers (4th, 13-7-6, 45 points)
Vs. Rio Grande Valley FC (12th, 7-13-7, 28 points)
@ Tulsa Roughnecks FC (5th, 12-10-4, 40 points)
Vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies (5th East, 11-7-8, 41 points)
Vs. Portland Timbers 2 (15th, 2-18-6, 12 points)
Vs. Rio Grande Valley FC (12th, 7-13-7, 28 points)

SAFC plays four of their final six matches at Toyota Field, where they have not lost in 2017. Of the six matches remaining, three are against teams in the lower have of the conference, including league-worst Portland. The two matches against teams in the West’s top eight come on the road against Swope Park and Tulsa.

San Antonio plays their lone match against the Eastern Conference against Tampa Bay, who sits fifth in the Western Conference. RGV comes to Toyota Field twice in the final six matches and as always will be a tough match for the Alamo City boys.

#1 Real Monarchs SLC (56 points) remaining schedule:
@ Phoenix Rising FC (7th, 10-7-7, 37 points)
Vs. Orange County SC (10th, 8-9-9, 33 points)
@ Sacramento Republic FC (#6, 11-8-6, 39 points)
@ Reno 1868 FC (3rd, 14-5-7, 49 points)
Vs. Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (14th, 5-14-8, 23 points)
Vs. LA Galaxy II (13th, 7-14-5, 26 points)

One could argue that Real Monarchs may face a tougher stretch to close out the season. The league leaders face three teams in the top eight and Orange County SC, who is fighting to get into the postseason. All three of their matches against the top eight teams come on the road, where Real Monarchs have gone 6-3-3.

If San Antonio FC can stay perfect at home to end the season and get some help from Phoenix, Reno, or Sacramento – the top spot could belong to the Silver and Black. Either way, fans should buckle up for one exciting finish to the end of the regular season.

“We definitely want more,” Newnam said. “We’ve been sitting close to the top of the table all year and we want to continue to make a far run in the playoffs and hopefully have a chance at winning a championship.”

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here