San Antonio FC (20-4-5, 64 points) tied with New Mexico United (11-10-9, 43 points) on Saturday night at Toyota Field by a score of 1-1. Ignacio Bailone scored for SAFC in the 54th minute. It was his second straight game with a Goal. Christopher Wehan pulled one back for the visitors just twelve minutes later to complete the scoring in the match.
San Antonio FC are still cruising towards the top seed in the USL West and a first round playoff bye despite dropping two points from the game. They still lead the Conference by nine poitns. But with only five matches remaining, they also have their sights set on the overall top seed in the League. Their lead in the chase over Louisville shrank to one single point following Saturday's results. However, SAFC do hold one match in hand over their Eastern rivals.
SAFC Manager Alen Marcina spoke after the match. “Disappointed, we didn’t get three points. The pressing actions were fantastic. We expected them to sit back, which they did. They were playing for a draw or to catch us on a set piece, or potentially in transition. We made one error on their goal, we expected to be man to man in the box, we weren’t, and we allowed a talented guy like [Chris] Wehan free, and that’s on us. So, we learn from that, take the point and remain in first place.”
Bailone was able to capitalize on a bouncing pass from San Antonio Midfielder Cristian Parano to get behind the New Mexico defense and slot home his goal. It was his 4th Goal of the season and his second consecutive game with a tally. It was the second Assist of the year for Parano who rejoined the club on August 20th.
Wehan leveled the game for New Mexico with a nifty flick-on from an Austin Yearwood Assist into the San Antonio box. It was the 7th Goal of the season for Wehan which ties him for the team lead.
Forward Jack Lynn made his debut for San Antonio FC as a second half sub. Lynn was acquired this week on Loan from Orlando City SC in MLS. San Antonio FC no doubt will play him frequently in the run up to the playoffs to ensure that he gains enough appearances to be playoff eligible.
SAFC Defender Connor Maloney spoke about the locker room mindset after the draw. “I think the beautiful thing is that we don’t have to wait, you know, a week for another game. Which is great. Guys are buzzing right now to get back on the field, because we felt like we had more left and we felt like should have gotten three points, but we didn’t. So it’s another opportunity to get those three points, and hopefully solidify first place in the west.”
Next up for San Antonio FC, their four-match home stand continues with a Tuesday night game against Colorado Switchbacks. The match was originally scheduled for May but was post poned due to Covid. SAFC defeated Colorado on the road by a score of 1-0 back in June.
Colorado were neck and neck in the standings with San Antonio through June and that road win was the start of SAFC separating themselves from the rest of the Western Conference. Third place Colorado have since drifted 13 points behind San Antonio FC. Tuesday's match will kick off at 7:30pm.
Full highlights of San Antonio FC vs New Mexico are below.
IMAGES - SAN ANTONIO FC TWITTER
PHOTO - DARREN ABATE / INSTAGRAM: @PEAKACTION