ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Chris Wehan scored twice and played a role in his side’s other two goals as New Mexico United rallied for a 4-2 victory against San Antonio FC on Wednesday night at Isotopes Park in a game that saw the visitors reduced to 10 men with just over half-an-hour to go, from where United scored three unanswered goals to take victory.
New Mexico took the lead in the 12th minute as after picking up possession just inside the San Antonio half, Chris Wehan made a driving run into the left side of the penalty area where he fired a shot back across his body to the right corner. San Antonio goalkeeper Matt Cardone made a low save, but the rebound spilled to Ilija Ilic, who tucked it away for his second goal in as many games.
San Antonio got the chance to level on the half-hour mark, though, as off a corner kick from the right Kortne Ford was ruled to have been brought down as he attempted to go for a header at the near post, resulting in a penalty kick. Nathan Fogaca stepped up to the spot and shot low into the left corner past the diving effort of New Mexico goalkeeper Alex Tambakis to save. Three minutes later, the visitors went ahead as off a free kick from the left by Ollie Wright, Joaquin Varela deflected a finish on target that was parried by Tambakis, only for the SAFC defender to clean up at the second attempt.
The hosts almost pulled level in first-half stoppage time when a loose pass sent Ilic on his way in the San Antonio half to line up a shot from 25 yards to the top-right corner of the net that Cardone did well to parry away for a corner kick. The teams then exchanged chances inside the opening 10 minutes of the second half as first New Mexico hit the woodwork from 16 yards on a shot by Wehan before an immediate counterattack by the visitors set up a chance for Fogaca that was met with an excellent one-on-one save by Tambakis.
The game proved a testy one between the Mountain Division rivals, though, and just before the hour-mark Wright was shown his second yellow card of the game and San Antonio was reduced to 10 men. Wehan then hit the crossbar again in the 64th minute with a curling finish from the top-left edge of the penalty area, but two minutes later New Mexico’s leading scorer came through with an equalizer as his free kick took a deflection off the top of the defensive wall as he shot toward the left corner and ended up bouncing into the right side of the net with Cardone wrong-footed.
Wehan continued to try and drive the United attack as it went in search of the lead and shot just wide of the left post from 14 yards after an initial shot by Sergio Rivas had been blocked in the center of the penalty area with 13 minutes to go. A minute later, though, New Mexico regained the lead as Wehan ran onto a clipped pass by Ilic that sent him into the penalty area on the left for a low shot that Cardone got down to save, only for Andrew Tinari to be in position to finish the rebound.
With two minutes to go, United’s talisman then completed the victory as after his cross from the left had been cleared as far as Josh Suggs on the right side, the New Mexico captain rolled a pass back across the penalty area that Micheal Azira dummied to allow Wehan a chance to tee up a first-time strike that tucked just inside the left post, cementing the result and putting New Mexico three points ahead of Austin Bold FC in fourth place in the Mountain Division standings.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Chris Wehan, New Mexico United – Wehan had two goals and finished the night with nine shots overall, two of which also turned into goals as Ilija Ilic and Andrew Tinari picked up the pieces on the rebound to finish.
NM – Ilija Ilic 12’
SA – Nathan Fogaca (Penalty Kick) 32’
SA – Joaquin Varela 35’
NM – Chris Wehan 66’
NM – Andrew Tinari 78’
NM – Chris Wehan 88’