ALBUQUERQUE, N.M (Fwrd Axis) — San Antonio FC’s good fortunes continued on Saturday night as they earned a hard-fought 1-0 win over New Mexico United at Isotopes Park.
The victory is the third straight for San Antonio FC, who has won four of its last five. The win comes following San Antonio’s thrilling win over Austin FC in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, which is being labeled as the biggest win in club history.
“Three games in eight days which includes a very good MLS opponent in the Open Cup,” SAFC Head Coach Alen Marcina said. “And to come away from these three games with nine points I’m incredibly happy and incredibly proud. Couldn’t ask for more.”
The first half saw New Mexico aggressive on the attack as they pressured the San Antonio defense and goalkeeper Jordan Farr. United’s Chris Wehan had the best chance of the half for the hosts but his low shot to the left corner was stopped by Farr as the clubs went to the dressing room scoreless.
San Antonio FC finally broke through in the second half when Justin Dhillon was taken down just inside the penalty area. He stepped up and drilled home the penalty kick, putting the ball down the middle past New Mexico goalkeeper Cody Mizell to put SAFC up 1-0 in the 67th minute.
With SAFC clinging to a one-goal lead, New Mexico pressed on and kept their foot on the gas. With 17 minutes left in the match, Daniel Bruce’s shot went just wide of the goal and Farr made two huge saves on shots from Jerome Kiesewetter and Raddy Ovouka to secure the win for San Antonio.
Here are three main points from San Antonio FC’s win over New Mexico:
After playing three matches in the course of eight days, San Antonio dug deep to get the win in New Mexico on Saturday. Wednesday night’s victory over Austin saw Marcina’s club play over 120 minutes of soccer and overall played 300 minutes of soccer in an eight-day span.
“I’m so proud of the win, so proud of the players. Those are absolute mentality monsters,” Marcina said.
Marcina put out his usual lineup instead of opting to give his stars a night off and the move paid off after 90-plus minutes as SAFC earned the win to be tied for second in the Western Conference.
Dhillon gets on board
Justin Dhillon was a major piece for San Antonio FC in the 2021 season and he has proven to be that to start 2022 despite not getting on the scoreboard yet. Well, that all changed on Saturday as his penalty kick was the lone goal for SAFC to bring home all three points.
There have definitely been some opportunities that you look back and think ‘man I wanted to put that one in’ but super grateful to have put that one in,” Dhillon said. “As soon as I saw the penalty call I saw multiple guys on the team just have so much belief in me, give me the ball and say ‘you’ve got this.’ It’s just a testament to what this team’s built on and what we’re made of.”
San Antonio’s losing streak in New Mexico came to an end on Saturday with the win, taking all three points. Prior to the match, SAFC had failed to get a single point at Isotopes Park. SAFC improved to 4-0 on the road, their best mark to begin on the road in franchise history.
“This was the first time we’ve come in and beat New Mexico in New Mexico, so that’s a great achievement. When you look back at the week three wins in a week is just absolutely incredible,” Dhillon said.
San Antonio FC is now 6-1-0 (18 points) on the season and will return to the pitch next Saturday to face Monterey Bay F.C. (1-5-0) at 7:30 p.m. from Toyota Field.
Story updated with player quotes from Justin Dhillon and Coach Alen Marina.