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PLAYOFF REPORT: Wehan Lifts New Mexico Past SAFC in Extra Time

By NICHOLAS MURRAY - nicholas.murray@uslsoccer.com, 10/11/20, 12:05AM EDT

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United playmaker scores lone goal in 1-0 victory as San Antonio’s season comes to an end

SAN ANTONIO – The Kings of the Road are moving on.

Chris Wehan scored the only goal in extra time to send New Mexico United to a 1-0 victory against San Antonio FC at Toyota Field and a place in the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2020 USL Championship Playoffs on Saturday night.

Both teams had come close to finding the net in regulation, with Wehan almost firing home for United in the 82nd minute with a powerful shot from 25 yards that bent just wide of the left post. Eleven minutes into extra time, though, the New Mexico playmaker made no mistake as he received the ball off a cushioned header by David Najem, got a kind bounce as he tried to go past his defender and tucked a left-footed shot just inside the right post.

San Antonio went close to answering two minutes later as Gonzalo Di Renzo got a clear sight of goal from 25 yards but fired his shot just high and wide of the top-right corner of the net. As extra time progressed, however, SAFC had difficulty in finding a way through United’s defense.

Luis Solignac tried to slot a ball through the top of the six-yard area with teammates waiting with five minutes to go that was cleared to safety and in stoppage time both Cristian Parano and Kai Greene had chances blocked away. New Mexico held firm, though, to see out another big road victory in its season of travel.

Earlier in the contest, both sides had chances early on but United missed a big opportunity in the 16th minute to take the lead as Amando Moreno slid a low cross from the right side of the penalty area through traffic to find Josh Suggs arriving late, but the United captain fired his finish wide of the right post. Moreno also went close himself 10 minutes later with a powerful shot that was punched away by SAFC goalkeeper Matt Cardone.

San Antonio’s first serious look on goal arrived soon after as Jordan Perruzza launched a long-range shot toward the left corner that was saved by United goalkeeper Cody Mizell. SAFC’s Cristian Parano also tested Mizell in the 34th minute after finding space off a quickly taken free kick for a low, curling shot toward the left corner, but Mizell saved his best stop of the first half for a minute before the break as Perruzza’s flicked header off a corner from the right was pushed over the crossbar by United’s shot-stopper.

Perruzza continued to look threatening for San Antonio in the second half and the young Canadian hit the outside of the net with a shot from the left side of the penalty area that went wide of the near post, but as the half went on chances began to dry up for both sides. Indeed, Wehan’s late chance proved New Mexico’s best chance of the second half, but in extra time his finish proved the difference as United took its place in the next round.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Cody Mizell, New Mexico United – Mizell made a three-save shutout, but all three were of high quality and came in a game with no margin for error for the visitors as they moved into the Conference Semifinals.

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