San Antonio FC (10-3-4, 33 points) lost a hard fought Western Conference Quarterfinals Playoff match against New Mexico United (9-3-4, 30 points) by a score of 1-0 at Toyota Field on Saturday night in front of 2,175 socially distanced fans. Christopher Wehan scored the controversial match winner in the 101st minute of the match. The teams were deadlocked at 0-0 after 90 minutes, which required an additional 30 minutes of Extra Time to decide the match. Wehan appeared to control the ball with his arm before scoring the goal.
San Antonio FC did not mince words about the goal after the match. From Manger Alen Marcina, “I’m a firm believer in accountability. Myself and our players are all held accountable to certain standards. I believe the officiating needs to be better, that’s my personal opinion. It know it’s a tough job and my hats go off to all of them. I respect what they do, but it’s a tough one to swallow. It was a clear handball on their goal and that’s a tough one to swallow. People have to be held accountable.”
SAFC Defender Joshua Yaro added, “It was a clear handball. If you asked Chris [Wehan] he will tell you that it was a handball. He used his hand to touch the ball in front of him, so it’s a clear handball. I think the linesman and the referee should have seen that.”
Things got going in the 16th minute when United Captain Josh Suggs was left wide open in the box but fired his shot wide of the net. For SAFC, their best opportunity of the opening half came right before the break on a corner kick set piece. Forward Jordan Perruzza put a header with pace on target but it was well saved by United Goal Keeper Cody Mizell. Perhaps the play of the match.
Wehan would get close for United from distance in the 82nd minute but the shot was inches wide of the net.
Things got particularly testy in the Extra Time periods as the teams combined for eight Yellow Cards, including one on the SAFC bench. There were only two over the course of regular time.
San Antonio FC is left wondering how their season went so sour. After starting the season with 11 straight matches unbeaten, they finished losing 4 of 6 games, including three straight losses to close out the campaign. Part of the reason is their top Goal Scorers went cold. After scoring in 6 straight games, Luis Solignac did not score in his final three appearances. Second leading scorer Cristiano Parano went without a goal for his final four matches.
As a result, San Antonio FC will have to wait at least one more year for their second playoff victory in team history.
SAFC will enter the offseason with many roster questions. Have we seen the last of Parano? Will Cardone come back for a 6th season? Does Yaro stay for a third season? And many more. All will be answered in the months ahead.
Stay tuned to the San Antonio FC team page right here on ticket760.com for updates.
NMU: 0-1, Chris Wehan
NMU: Yellow Card (Armando Moreno) 48’
SAFC: Yellow Card (Mitch Taintor) 51’
NMU: Yellow Card (Cody Mizell) 103’
SAFC: Yellow Card (PC) 104’
NMU: Yellow Card (Chris Wehan) 105’
SAFC: Yellow Card (Ignacio Bailone) 105’
NMU: Yellow Card (Andrew Tinari) 105’
NMU: Yellow Card (Josh Suggs) 105’
NMU: Yellow Card (JP Guzman) 107’
SAFC: Yellow Card (Cristian Parano) 115’
SAFC: Yellow Card (Juan Lamadrid) 119’
Attendance: 2,175 (socially distanced)
IMAGES: SAN ANTONIO FC TWITTER, NEW MEXICO UNITED TWITTER
PHOTOS: DARREN ABATE, INSTAGRAM: @PEAKACTION