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Late PK sends SAFC to semifinals

October 22, 2017 GMT

San Antonio FC played its first postseason match Saturday at Toyota Field. But for several of the players, it wasn’t their first rodeo.

Some had participated in major international competitions. Others had competed in Major League Soccer or top-level divisions in their native land.

The experience showed.

SAFC scored twice in the second half, including the game-winner in extra time, and defeated Tulsa Roughnecks FC 2-1 Saturday in Western Conference quarterfinals of the United Soccer League Cup before 7,019 at Toyota Field.

The local squad will play Oklahoma City Energy FC in the semifinals next week at Toyota Field. SAFC has home-field advantage throughout the rest of the conference playoffs after No. 1 seed Real Monarchs SLC lost to No. 8 Sacramento Republic FC on penalty kicks Friday.

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SAFC forward Ever Guzman converted a penalty kick with only moments to spare to complete the comeback.

The penalty was set up when Billy Forbes was taken down inside the penalty area. It was Guzman’s fourth goal in four matches.

SAFC, which won for only the second time in 10 matches this season in which an opponent scored first - it previously was 1-4-4 - tied it at 1-1 in the 61st minute.

Cesar Elizondo redirected a shot by Omar Gordon, wrong-footing Tulsa goalkeeper Fabian Cerda.

The score was the byproduct of strong pressure by the Alamo City club, who seemed to find an offensive rhythm late in the first half and was unfortunate not to have connected earlier.

Forbes had a shot smack off the crossbar in the 36th minute, Guzman had a goal in the 40th waved off by a foul and Elizondo put a shot just right in the 43rd.

The urgency came after Tulsa struck first in the 23rd minute, capitalizing on SAFC’s inability to clear a ball deep from its territory. Midfielder Paris Gee scored his first goal of the season, gathering a loose ball about 25 yards out and put a blast into the upper right corner past a diving SAFC goalkeeper Diego Restrepo.

It is both teams’ first postseason appearance. The local club is 3-0 this season against Tulsa, also winning 2-0 on Sept. 30 and 3-1 on June 17. The teams also faced off in the third round of this year’s Lamar Hunt Open Cup and the game ended in a scoreless draw during regulation. Tulsa prevailed 7-6 on penalty kicks.

tthomas@express-news.net

Twitter: @en_terrence