On Saturday, September 30, 2023, the Roots are hosting San Antonio F.C. at 7:00 p.m. at Pioneer Stadium in Hayward. The Roots really need a win and San Antonio are very good. Not ideal!
Around the Western Conference
This is all you need to worry about right now, but do not misunderstand, you do need to worry:
Top two from this group get in, the rest stay home. If the Roots beat San Antonio, I’ll let you see higher up the table, but for now, that’s not our concern.
San Antonio’s Form
Surprisingly weak! San Antonio have been consistently good all season, the only blemishes a couple four game periods with three points, but the rest of their schedule has been way more wins than anything else. Then in mid-August they faltered, with three scoreless draws in a row to MBFC, Riverhounds, and Toros, a 1-2 loss away to Tulsa, and then a 3-3 home draw with Tampa Bay. A 3-3 draw with Tampa is a good result–no question. The Roots match against Tampa Bay, as I mentioned on the pod this week, is probably the only time all season where I felt the Roots got completely outclassed.
San Antonio’s most recent fixture looks like they are back on track, a 4-0 hammering of Orange County. The only reason that might not be as good as result as it looks is that after their twelve wins in fourteen from June to September, OCSC has only one point in their last three, including a draw with El Paso and a loss to Switchbacks. Anyway, if that means Orange County are a mid-table team (as the Roots must currently aspire to be)…. San Antonio just thrashed them.
At this point, for the first time in weeks, we can say that it could be worse. But only technically. Danny Barbir looks very good.
Couple of things about this video. First, in the crowd shot you can see me clapping real weird because I stopped to pick up the cookies I’d bought to make sure they didn’t get trampled on. Second, it’s rare that the whole blog editorial board watches a game together live, and this time we were treated to Jon’s live reaction to Hackshaw’s goal: “he just fell over.” Third, Hackshaw is a magnificent player–Roots got two goals from our lumbering-est centerbacks.
Players to Watch
All of them; they’re very good. I suggest hiding. Tani Oluwayesi (#16) came over on loan from Minnesota United in May and despite that shortened season has 14 goals and 7 assists, 4 of those goals coming in a pounding of Hartford in July. Rida Zouhir (#18) has also contributed 8 goals and 4 assists from the midfield since coming over from CF Montreal on loan in May. Sam Adeniran was recalled from his loan back to St. Louis, but he also scored 4, with loanees accounting for 28 of SAFC’s 57 non-own goals on the season, one short of 50%. I understand that the Roots’ primary goalscorer last season was a loanee, but I will choose to consider the Roots’ homegrown movement to allow for moral smugness over SAFC.1
Lineup and Score Predictions
Valiant 1-1 draw that feels like a win. [Note to Aaron: I understand the formation above does not make sense]
I’m not sure if Joseph Nane is back in the starting lineup and I think his return could be a catalyst for success. Tarek Morad was in the team’s photos this week, so I’m thinking we see him back in the lineup in the midfield or back line. Given we last saw Morad in the midfield, I’m slotting him there. I’m also hopeful Danny Gomez is back in the midfield, but I’m not sure he’s back yet. My attack is Anuar Pelaez, Johnny Rodriguez on the right, and Lindo Mfeka on the left. The question is whether there’s a necessity to get Jeciel Cedeño in the starting lineup; I could also see Johnny on the left, where he got time under Jordan Ferrell.
My score prediction is a grueling 1-0 Roots victory. What I’d love to see is Oakland figure out its offense, finish its chances, and pull off a 3-2 win. Putting two on the board against San Antonio would be a great momentum builder.
🕯 GOALS 🕯
Let’s see if this works. 3-2 Roots.
- I would trade this smugness for goals in a fucking heartbeat. ↩︎