Cristian Parano (left), Chris Wehan (center) and Jose Gallegos (right) have all made their mark in prior meetings between New Mexico United and San Antonio FC.
New Mexico United plays host to San Antonio FC this weekend at Isotopes Park, resuming what has become an underrated rivalry across seven prior meetings between the sides over the past three years. From playoff drama to blowout victories, United and SAFC have delivered some outstanding highlights in previous contests, and we could expect more of the same on Saturday night at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
Here are six prior moments where we were left speechless by the brilliance on show.
New Mexico United’s first Cinco de Mayo contest was a landmark game for the hosts, who took a 3-0 victory that was begun by Devon Sandoval’s opener inside the opening 10 minutes. After clearing a threatening move by San Antonio from their own penalty area, it took just three passes and a mazy Kevaughn Frater for the hosts to go end-to-end and convert.
2019 USL Championship Young Player of the Year Cristian Parano dazzled the league all season with his dribbling skills, as exemplified in this capper to a 5-0 romp for SAFC at Toyota Field that paid United back for its early-season victory. Parano’s goal was his second of the night as he turned out of pressure and laced home a finish to the bottom-right corner of the net.
There’s been no-one as prolific as Chris Wehan in the series between these two clubs with six goals for New Mexico in four games against San Antonio in his career. The biggest of those came with a side order of controversy; did Wehan handle the ball while controlling it for this extra time winner in the 2020 USL Championship Playoffs? The goal stood, and New Mexico moved on.
This banger by Austin Yearwood didn’t just put the cap on New Mexico’s victory at The Lab, it also marked his first goal in the professional ranks in his 82nd regular season appearance. The screamer to the top-right corner of the net was voted the Championship Fans’ Choice Goal of the Year last December after bringing the house down in Albuquerque.
You could have dubbed this meeting between San Antonio and New Mexico at Toyota Field the Jose Gallegos Show. In a nationally-televised contest, the SAFC Academy product had already delivered a pair of assists before making his curtain call in stoppage time, weaving between a pair of defenders before firing home into the left corner to send the home fans wild.
Given what we mentioned above about Chris Wehan’s prolificacy against San Antonio, if you guessed he’d had another entry, you’d have been right. The playmaker’s late winner at Toyota Field last September was a masterclass in spacing and movement as Amando Moreno played Wehan in after his cutting run through the penalty area, sending the visitors to victory at Toyota Field with six minutes to go.