Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Recapping San Antonio FC’s 2023 regular season

Recapping+San+Antonio+FC%E2%80%99s+2023+regular+season

The saying “it ain’t easy being king” is used quite often when describing winning a championship in sports. In the case of San Antonio Football Club, the reigning 2022 United Soccer League Championship winners have had a target on their back even before winning the club’s first title last season. Every team that plays against the club wants to make a statement and tries to do so in a headline-stealing fashion. Throughout all of the pressure and expectations, San Antonio FC remains a title contender for yet another season, currently second in the Western Conference. However, this season has been far more difficult than last, which showcased the mental strength of the squad.

A common theme around this season has been the amount of injuries that the squad has suffered. It was so bad that early in the season, 16 and 17 year olds had to be placed on the bench. Nevertheless, the defending champs lived up to their “mentality monsters” motto and fought through the adversity, only losing 1 out of their opening 10 matches. It was not always positive results for the Black and Silver, as from May 20 to June 24, the club did not win a single game during that stretch. This included a 3-1 thumping at the hands of their bitter conference rival, Sacramento Republic. 

Once the dog days of summer rolled around, the squad became “dawgs” and went on a tear, winning seven out of eight matches from July to mid-August. A team that is more known for being compact and playing strong defense, SAFC has almost reinvented itself and become a goal-scoring machine. 

Many new faces were the key to this change in the system, including forward Tani

Oluwaseyi, who is on loan from MLS team Minnesota United FC. In his 24 appearances for the club, Oluwasey has bagged 16 goals and 7 assists, which is an impressive tally. Another new signee, Jorge Hernandez, racked up 2 goals and a mind-boggling 10 assists in the USL Championship season. 19-year-old midfielder Rida Zouhir has also been among the many bright spots on the roster. With eight goals and four assists to his name, Zouhir will be a top talent in the future. 

While some of the new arrivals have been producing at high levels, a few familiar faces are still part of a solid foundation for SAFC. It all starts with the defense. Players like Mitch Taintor and Frenchman Fabien Garcia help solidify the back line for San Antonio. Their presence and mentality are what make them great leaders in the squad and such lovable characters in the locker room. In attack, Santiago Patino has been a steady producer of goals for the past few seasons. In goal, Jordan Farr might be the perfect player to fit the “mentality monster”.

Despite numerous ins and outs of the club, including the signing of 12 new players, the club still managed to find themselves second in the conference, which books them a spot in the Western Conference Quarterfinals. Another deep playoff run is likely for the club, with some hoping that there may be a repeat as champions. However, the West is the more dominant of the two conferences, with clubs such as Sacramento Republic, Orange County SC and San Diego Loyal looking to knock SAFC off of their perch. 

It will be a very exciting postseason campaign for San Antonio. Toyota Field has been a fortress throughout the past few seasons, so whoever goes there knows what they will be faced with. While it has not been confirmed who SAFC will play in the quarterfinals, it will be a tough match no matter what. However, if this squad has proved anything, it is that they are not afraid of anything or anyone that stands in their way. 

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About the Contributor
Connor Suehs, Staff Writer
Connor (he/him) is a junior communication major at UTSA. This semester is Connor's first at The Paisano. Connor covers UTSA Athletics and the San Antonio Missions, as well as the Austin Spurs for the Project Spurs Network and high school football for Texas Sports Productions. He loves to shine a spotlight on the power of sports within our society. Aside from writing, Connor's hobbies are playing video games, hanging out with friends and watching sports.

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