SAN ANTONIO – Nathan Fogaca scored twice for a second consecutive game while Jose Gallegos recorded his first goal and two assists of the season as San Antonio FC took a 3-0 victory against New Mexico United on Wednesday night in the USL on ESPN Game of the Week at Toyota Field.
Looking to build on a win in its last outing, San Antonio’s Marcus Epps had an early sighter in the fourth minute with a long-range effort that flashed just over the crossbar. New Mexico also had an early chance seven minutes later but Isidro Martinez’s inventive flicked finish went just over the top-left corner of the net after an angled cross from the right by Josh Suggs.
As the half progressed, though, the game began to tilt in favor of the hosts. In the 18th minute, Gallegos controlled well in midfield and quickly got away from a marker before sliding a through-ball for Fogaca that the Brazilian didn’t finish cleanly as United goalkeeper Alex Tambakis made a low save. Chris Lema then stepped up sharply to win possession in the New Mexico half only for his low ball through the penalty area from the left channel to go just out of reach of a sliding Fogaca near the penalty spot.
New Mexico’s best chance of the half came 12 minutes before the break as Martinez threaded a low cross from the left through to Sergio Rivas for a first-time shot that was saved by SAFC goalkeeper Matt Cardone, but two minutes later San Antonio struck. A ball from early substitute Mohammed Abu – who made his debut after coming on following an injury to PC – found Gallegos with a chance to run at the United defense on the right. The 19-year-old drove to the byline and delivered a low cross that split the back line and Tambakis, giving Fogaca a tap-in finish for his third goal in two games.
Fogaca almost added a second for the hosts in the final minute of the first half as Gallegos’ deep cross from the left off a short corner was headed back across goal by Jasser Khmiri for the Brazilian, whose header was saved. New Mexico’s Martinez then went for goal from a long-range free kick 30 yards from goal five minutes into the second half but sent his finish wide of the left post as Cardone appeared to have the effort covered.
The duo of Gallegos and Fogaca linked up again in the 63rd minute, though, as San Antonio took further control. After two quick passes by the Brazilian to Epps to Gallegos just inside the New Mexico half, Gallegos played a perfect through-ball as Fogaca surged forward before rounding the advancing Tambakis to the left and putting home a finish into the open net.
New Mexico tried to find a way back into the game in the final 15 minutes. First Daniel Bruce sent a curled finish from the left side of the penalty area just over the top-right corner of the net, and then a few minutes later Rivas hit a crisp, first-time finish from 25 yards just wide of the left upright. Bruce then tried again with a side-volley that also went high with eight minutes to go, but the visitors never quite consistently tested Cardone on the night finishing with just one shot on goal overall.
San Antonio almost added a third late on as Lema fired a shot from long-range that took a big deflection to send the ball just wide of the right post. Justin Dhillon also sent a finish off target a minute later, but in stoppage time Gallegos ended the game with a flourish, controlling a pass at the top-right edge of the of the penalty area before weaving past two players and shooting low into the left corner, sealing the victory and a place just one point out of the playoff places in the Mountain Division.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Jose Gallegos, San Antonio FC – Gallegos recorded one goal and two assists, had five key passes overall and completed four dribbles and 14 of 19 passes in a breakout performance in his 2021 season.
SA – Nathan Fogaca (Jose Gallegos) 35’
SA – Nathan Fogaca (Jose Gallegos) 63’
SA – Jose Gallegos (Cam Lindley) 90+3’