San Antonio dominates in win over United

San Antonio dominates in win over United

The defending champions, San Antonio FC, looked every bit the part of the favorite. Despite losing the possession battle, an explosive first half was more than enough to put away New Mexico United before a final of 0-3.

United came in without a lot of confidence after two consecutive road losses to Orange County and Hartford Athletic. Against the Texas club, United just never got off the mark. They looked uncomfortable on their home pitch and it showed throughout the half.

It didn’t help that the first half was also the Rida Zouhir show.

In only the second minute of the match, the visitors had a chance for a corner that got sent across the goal area. Returning United captain Sam Hamilton elevated to clear the ball with a header and looked to have it out of danger. Unfortunately, the ball fell for Zouhir who on one touch drove the ball into the top right corner, catching Alex Tambakis flatfooted, 0-1.

United’s discomfort continued from there. They couldn’t string together runs of possession and gave the ball away inside their own half more than they would like to.

In the 28th minute, Jacobo Reyes conceded a foul around twenty-four yards out from goal, setting up San Antonio for a dangerous free kick opportunity. As Zouhir stood over the ball, United looked as though they were ready for a cross. Instead, Zouhir went for goal and snuck the ball into the top right corner of the net and past a leaping Tambakis to extend the lead, 0-2.

Instead of sitting back, San Antonio continued to press, almost forcing their line even higher than it was already. The run of play was heavily in the visitors’ favor and they controlled the pace of play. They would go on to add a third goal in the 40th minute to all but put the match away before halftime.

Taking the ball down the left, Ismaila Jome pushed the attack and had a supporting runner in the middle of the box. The newest player to join San Antonio, the returning Santiago Pantiño, found space off the shoulder of Kalen Ryden. Jome’s cross from the left gave neither Tambakis nor Ryden a chance to play the ball as it fell for Patiño, who tapped the ball into the bottom right corner, 0-3.

Looking for a spark in the second half, Head Coach Eric Quill brought off Reyes and Hamilton for Daniel Bruce and Kyle Colonna. Seconds into the half, Bruce put a shot on target, the first of the night for United. Bruce would continue to have an impact and seemed to invigorate the rest of the club. United did look better in the second forty-five, but the three-goal deficit was too much for the Black & Yellow to overcome.

To make matters worse for United, they will be without Coach Quill for the match against San Diego next weekend. During the match on Saturday evening, Quill had been issued a yellow card in the 20th minute for dissent. Clearly unhappy with the lack of calls being made in his club’s favor, Quill made his feelings known to the referee and received a yellow for his actions. With only five minutes left in regulation, Quill would be shown a second yellow card, again for dissent, and was sent off to an early shower.. This one came after Colonna had been shown a yellow card for dissent as well, which when paired with the lack of a card due to a hard foul by San Antonio, was enough to set the Coach off again.

Player of the Match

Rida Zouhir – Zouhir made an impact early and often in this match. With his performance tonight, he picked up his second and third goals of the year against United and almost single-handedly won the match for the visitors.

After three consecutive losses, United’s schedule doesn’t get any easier. They face off against another playoff-caliber club in San Diego Loyal on August 19. United will travel to Torero Stadium in San Diego for that match. Due to the Cowboys preseason game on August 19, the New Mexico United match will not be carried on ESPN Radio 101.7 FM The TEAM.