United breaks San Antonio and the curse in 2-1 win

United breaks San Antonio and the curse in 2-1 win

An early lead for San Antonio FC wasn’t enough to keep New Mexico United down. The Black & Yellow fought back with goals from Greg Hurst and Nannan Houssou to beat the visitors for the first time since 2021. The 2-1 win was United’s ninth in ten matches and put the club into first place.

As is customary between New Mexico and San Antonio, there were plenty of goals and even more physical play. Despite both sides taking some time to play their way into the match, the final twenty-five minutes of the half were packed with action.

Around the ten-minute mark, San Antonio took charge of the momentum and was asking the better questions of the two sides. Their persistence and ability to shut down United wanting to play out of the back ended up putting the visitors in some good positions early on.

In the 21st minute, the visitors rode their momentum to the first goal of the match. From near midfield, the former Rising forward Kevon Lambert sent a towering cross to the edge of the six yard box, trying to seek out Luke Haakenson. Dayonn Harris appeared to have the angle covered but slipped in the area, giving Haakenson a free header. The forward was able to get a good touch on the ball and headed it over the outstretched arm of Alex Tambakis and into the left netting for the lead, 0-1.

That goal seemed to wake United up and they began being a lot more forceful with their runs. Greg Hurst created the first real chance of the evening in the 35th after his run took him all the way to the by-line. Forcing his way to the very end of the pitch, Hurst played the ball back into the area while stepping out of play and back around the defender before getting a shot on goal. After a deflection by Kendall Burks, the ball was free in the area with no one close by. Nanan Houssou charged on the sphere and ushered it home with his right foot to equalize, 1-1.

With the score remaining tight, the physicality stepped up, and on the receiving end of a few hard fouls was Avionne Flanagan, requiring him to receive treatment multiple times. Due to the delays in the match, the referee signaled that there would be four minutes of stoppage time. United’s history with stoppage time is well documented, but on this night, it would be in their favor.

In the fourth minute of stoppage time (45+4), Hurst, who had a hand in the first goal, would get one of his own. After being picked out by Dayonn Harris near the top of the arc, Hurst took the shot on the first touch and sent a rocket into the back of the net to claim the lead, 2-1.

After the excitement of the first half, the second provided the same amount of excitement, just not the goals. For all their efforts, most of San Antonio’s attacks faltered in the final third. None of the attacks truly felt threatening as United and Alex Tambakis held firm. The stats speak for themselves. When a club fails to create threatening chances, they don’t score as frequently.

San Antonio’s Carter Manley would severely inhibit their chances to pull back level before the end of the night. He picked up a pair of yellow cards, first in the 80th and again in the fifth minute of stoppage time for fouls. Even before the man advantage came about, United was far more likely to score again and remained on the front foot to see out the match and break the curse of San Antonio at The Lab.

Player of the Match

Nicky Hernandez – The former San Antonio midfielder played incredibly well against his old club and made a key play in the first half to keep United ahead. In the 42nd minute, Hernandez was able to block a shot at the goal line, preventing San Antonio from pulling level.

Up Next

After the win and results from around the league, United sits at the top of the western conference table. Sacramento drew with Birmingham, giving them three straight draws. United has now won nine of their last ten across all competitions and only Charleston Battery have more wins than United at this point in the season. The Black & Yellow will look to defend their position next Sunday, June 2 when they travel to California to take on Monterey Bay FC. That match is scheduled for a 5 PM kickoff. Coverage of the match will begin at 4 PM MT on ESPN Radio 101.7 FM The TEAM, The TEAM website, and The TEAM apps.