On a night when New Mexico United set a new attendance record for their franchise with a sold out crowd of 15,023 at Isotopes Park to celebrate Cinco De Mayo, a second half brace from Midfielder Chris Wehan overwhelmed San Antonio as they fell to New Mexico United 3-0.
It was an emotionally charged week for New Mexico United after tragedy struck the family of one of their best Defenders, Justin Schmidt. Schmidt's father was killed in a car accident in Wyoming earlier in the week and his mother was injured in the wreck as well. The team wore black armbands in honor of Schmidt's father and his family on Sunday night as Justin Schmidt was obviously not a participant in the match.
Behind all of that emotion, the huge crowd, and one of the best teams of the USL Championship season so far, New Mexico would not be denied the night.
Said Manager Darren Powell after the match, “I thought our players created several opportunities tonight, but we didn’t capitalize on them. New Mexico took full advantage of the chances they presented themselves with, and when they scored the second goal the momentum continued to be in their favor. Our players are bitterly disappointed, but we need to put this behind us and prepare for next weekend.”
Leading New Mexico striker Santi Moar wasted no time getting the first great chance of the match in the opening minute after he got played into open space down the middle of San Antonio's defense, but he pushed his shot wide. However, it was a clear signal for what kind of attack SAFC would be facing for 90 minutes. And it wouldn't take long for them to cash in.
Eight minutes later to be exact.
Forward Devon Sandoval got behind the SAFC defense and buried his shot past SAFC Goal Keeper Matt Cardone after a perfect cross from Frater and it was quick 1-0 lead for the home team inside of ten minutes. It was the 20th goal of the season for New Mexico, one of the top scoring teams in USL Championship. Sandoval was assisted brilliantly on the play by Forward Kevaughn Frater who was coming off of a hat trick last week.
SAFC settled in nicely in response to the goal and found more possession of the ball and better chances going forward. Unfortunately, a few instances of not being on the same page with their passes lead to their best attacks dying out before any quality shots could be taken.
Things would start to get heated in the 33' after New Mexico Midfielder Chris Wehan got away with a clear shove after a whistle right in front of the ref who somehow decided not to show a card for the clear transgression. Maybe that's all the extra motivation he needed to come alive later in the match.
SAFC Midfielder Jack Barmby would get the best chance of the first half for SAFC from the left wing in the 43' but his shot would drift just over the New Mexico bar. That left San Antonio trailing at the break down 1-0.
New Mexico would come out firing again to begin the second half as Moar tested Cardone to his left side in the 47' but the SAFC Keeper was up to the challenge. SAFC Midfielder Brian Gomez would streak down the field on the ensuing counter attack and had a one on one chance against New Mexico keeper Cody Mizell but hit his shot directly at him and Mizell made the easy save.
In the 59' New Mexico would make San Antonio pay when Wehan would get the benefit of a flurry of activity in front of Cardone's net. After a nifty pass from Santi Moar fell at his feet in open space and with an empty net, Wehan buried the easy shot past everyone for a 2-0 lead.
Shortly after that, New Mexico would put San Antonio away for good. SAFC left themselves way too exposed pushing forward chasing the game and Wehan would get his second goal off a breakaway just 4 minutes later and the rout was on.
San Antonio will play three home matches in eight days starting on Saturday night. That includes an Open Cup match on Tuesday May 14th.
NMU: 1-0, Devon Sandoval (Kevaughn Frater assist) 9’
NMU: 2-0, Chris Wehan (Santi Moar assist) 59’
NMU: 3-0, Chris Wehan (Kevaughn Frater assist) 63’
SAFC: Yellow Card (Moises Hernandez) 45’
SAFC: Yellow Card (Eby Ackon) 86’
NMU: Yellow Card (Juan Pablo Guzman) 90’
IMAGES: SAN ANTONIO FC TWITTER