After a 1-0 win to open the 2023 USL Championship playoffs last Saturday, Republic FC return to the pitch under Friday night lights for the Western Conference Semifinals. Their opponent – San Antonio FC – enters on a 1-0 win of their own. Ahead of the match, take a look at the Texas club’s journey to this point:
How they Got Here
San Antonio was strong again throughout this season after winning the USL title in 2022. Throughout the campaign, the club was pushing for the top spot week over week, jockeying with the top Western clubs. The Texas squad finished the regular season tied for the most goals scored in the league at 64 and allowed only 38 – the third fewest in the league behind Sacramento and Players’ Shield winners Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
In the Conference Quarterfinals, San Antonio claimed a 1-0 win over Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC. A goal-line denial by defender Shannon Gomez kept the visitors off the board in the first half, and after 55 minutes deadlocked, the hosts pounced on a defensive third mistake to put in the lone score of the contest.
Names to Watch
Minnesota United loanee Tani Oluwaseyi has been the focal point of the club’s attack all season. The forward finished fourth in the Golden Boot race with 17 scores on the year, three back of winner Albert Dikwa, and added seven assists after coming over from the Loons in April. He posted some remarkable individual performances during the regular season, including a four-goal game on July 29.
In the net, the club features a new face; Dutchman Nick Marsman has taken over the job between the sticks from Jordan Farr. Formerly of Inter Miami CF, he came over to San Antonio just in time to make the playoff roster and has recorded two clean sheets in six appearances including last week’s Western Conference Quarterfinal.
Against Sacramento this Season
San Antonio and Sacramento have faced off twice before this season, first on April 8 and again on June 24. After a scoreless draw in the April contest in Texas, Sacramento bested San Antonio 3-1 in June as first half scores from Jack Gurr and Sebastian Herrera from the penalty spot put Republic FC up heading into the break. The physical contest resulted in the visitors playing down following two red card dismissals. After an eventful final ten minutes, Sacramento put a bow on the match with a free-kick score by Luis Felipe from outside the penalty area.