PREVIEW: Saint Louis FC vs San Antonio FC

PREVIEW: Saint Louis FC vs San Antonio FC

Saint Louis FC: (7-9-8) 29 points, 24 games played; [12th in the Western Conference]

Form Guide: DLDDW 

San Antonio FC: (8-8-7) 31 points, 23 games played; [8th in the Western Conference]

Form Guide: WWLDL

Match Details: Saturday, August 27th @ 7:30 pm CST.Location: World Wide Technology Soccer Park (Fenton, MO)


For the past few weeks, each game has been Saint Louis FC's most important of the season, and Saturday's Western Conference clash with San Antonio FC is no exception. World Wide Technology Soccer Park will be the venue for the first-ever meeting between the two clubs when STLFC hosts SAFC at 7:30 pm.

San Antonio currently sits on 31 points, occupying the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference – 4 spots above St. Louis who will head into Saturday in 12th, but only 2 points behind San Antonio in the packed Western Conference playoff race. That means that Saint Louis could potentially leapfrog into a Western Conference playoff spot with a win on Saturday night.

San Antonio FC will not be an easy task, though, as they come to St. Louis on the back of a two-game winning streak, having beaten both Sounders FC 2 and Arizona United SC last week. For San Antonio, they seem to be hitting form at just the right time with their two wins vaulting them from 14th place in the West into the final playoff spot. The road, however, has been a struggle for San Antonio as they've only won 2 USL regular season games on their travels this season, an opening night win vs. Sounders FC 2 and a 2-1 win against bottom of the league Tulsa Roughnecks in early July.

Saint Louis FC are coming off of a disappointing draw with cross-state rivals Swope Park Rangers last Sunday at Children's Mercy Park in interim head coach Tim Leonard's first game in charge. FC looked to be headed back to St. Louis with all 3 points after Vince Ciccarelli took advantage of Tommy Meyer's 80th-minute mistake and coolly slotted home to give the visitors the lead. But a barrage of chances in the final minutes eventually saw Swope debutant Akeil Barrett score the equalizer with just 2 minutes to go and ensure that SPR and STLFC would split the points on the night, and the season series.With a playoff spot up for grabs, Saturday's first matchup between San Antonio and Saint Louis should be a good one. 5 teams currently sit within 2 points for the final Western Conference playoff spot, and all 5 are in action on Saturday with Swope Park Rangers (9th, 30 points) hosting LA Galaxy 2 and Real Monarchs (11th, 29 points) traveling to Arizona United (10th, 30 points), making Saturday a crucial day for the Western Conference playoff picture moving forward.

What to Look For:

On Friday Saint Louis FC announced the loan-signing of midfielder Jason Plumhoff from Jacksonville Armada FC of the NASL. Plumhoff will be making his return to the USL where he scored a club-best 10 goals with Harrisburg City Islanders in 2015. Plumhoff's move has been cleared by both the USL and USSF and he will be available for selection. In addition to Plumhoff, Chicago Fire loanee Alex Morrell is expected to be fit for Saturday night's game after recovering from the slight hamstring injury that kept him from playing a part against Swope Park Rangers.

San Antonio FC forward Franck Tayou has been one of the keys to the Texas club's revival in recent weeks. After only having joined from indoor soccer club Las Vegas Mobsters, Tayou has scored 4 times in 10 appearances with San Antonio, tying him for the club lead in goals for the season.
Saturday will also be Irvin Herrera and Ryan Thompson's final games with Saint Louis FC before departing on international duty for the September World Cup 2018 Qualifiers with El Salvador and Jamaica, respectively. The pair will miss USL games vs. OKC Energy and FC Cincinnati while serving for their national teams before rejoining STLFC for the final 3 games of the season.

Leading Scorers:

Saint Louis FC: Irvin Herrera (11)
San Antonio FC: T - Rafael Castillo, Franck Tayou (4)

Leading Assists:

Saint Louis FC: T - Mike Ambersley, Richard Dixon, James Musa, Irvin Herrera (3)
San Antonio FC: Carlos Alvarez (4)


Player Availablity Report:

Brandon Barklage - Out, injury
Parker Maher - Out, injury