Albuquerque, New Mexico –
An emotional evening at Isotopes Park, where over 15,000 showed up to support New Mexico United after news that one of their players, Justin Schmidt had lost his father in a tragic car accident that also left his mother injured. New Mexico played inspired and won 3-0 over San Antonio FC.
For San Antonio FC, the buzz on social media started with the announcement of the line-up with Lance Laing was noticeably absent from the roster and did not make the trip. Another head scratcher, Ever Guzman was not named to the starting XI.
SAFC had the honors of the first half kickoff but it was New Mexico who had the first chance to score barely one minute in, when Santi Moar took a shot from the top of the box but missed to the right. First score came in the 9th minute when Kevaughn Frater came down the right side and was able to turn SAFC rightback Johnny Fenwick inside out and flew right past him and getting a through ball untouched across the penalty box and found Devon Sandoval six yards out, and shot past a diving Cardone. SAFC’s attack plan was to try long passes and crosses in an attempt to get behind New Mexico’s back line, but with a small and narrow pitch on a baseball field and New Mexico seemly finding SAFC’s attack predictable, SAFC’s attack was to no avail and SAFC found themselves down 1-0 at the half.
Second half got off to a quick start and it was not in SAFC’s favor. Barmby, Fenwick and Gomez all had attempts early in the second half but were unable to crack past Mizell. New Mexico’s next goal came in the 59′ minute as Santi Moar was able to make a run into the box and found Christopher Wehan right around the penalty spot, Cardone came up in attempt to disrupt the shot but Wehan’s shot went towards the right post and found the back of the net. New Mexico capped off the night of scoring in the 63′ minute and Wehan achieved the brace with his second goal of the night. Frater also logged his second assist of the evening when his pass from midfield went over a SAFC back line that was up and putting pressure on New Mexico. Wehan came down the left flank and was uncontested to goal, putting Wehan and Cardone in a one on one situation. With New Mexico clearly in control, SAFC threw bodies forward and took five shots after that third New Mexico goal but none seriously threatened to find the back of the net.
SAFC found themselves at times playing uninspired, lost and uncomfortable on the pitch. Although the stat sheets show that New Mexico and SAFC were close in most categories, New Mexico dominated and easily outplayed SAFC and now find themselves on the top of the USL West table.
It’s back to the drawing board for SAFC, now in the 16th spot. Good news is previous to this loss, SAFC had won three of the last four. The USL table is still entangled in a tight race as SAFC is four points from the bottom of the table but also find themselves four points from fifth place; a couple wins in a row will put SAFC right back into the mix.
BY THE NUMBERS: Barmby led the team in shots with 3, Cardone had 3 saves on 6 attempts, SAFC led with 22 tackles
UP NEXT: SAFC is at home versus Orange County FC, last season Orange County won both head to head matches 3-0 in Toyota Field and 3-0 on the second fixture in Southern California. Orange County is currently 3-3-3 with 12 points sitting in 8th place.