SAN ANTONIO — After a four-match road trip, San Antonio FC returned home on Saturday night but would fall 0-1 to New Mexico United (9-8-7) at Toyota Field with the visitors scoring the only goal of the night late in the second half.
The loss is the second for SAFC in the last five games and drops San Antonio to third in a tight Mountain Division with seven games to play in the 2021 season.
“We did some good things out there with our pressing actions and we found good positions,” SAFC Head Coach Alen Marcina said. “We were unfortunate not to execute and their keeper made some big saves. We were unfortunate at the end; they scored a nice goal, and they are a very good team.”
The first half saw both teams have several solid scoring chances. New Mexico had two shots go just wide of goal and three shots from SAFC midfielder Marcus Epps missed going into the net, including the ball going off the post, making the game scoreless going into the second half.
The scoreless drought continued into the second half. Epps’ shot from 18 yards out in the 67th minute went wide of the net. New Mexico finally broke the scoreless drought in the 84th minute when Chris Wehan fired the ball past SAFC goalkeeper Matt Cardone and into the net.
San Antonio pressed in the final moments but New Mexico would escape with the victory in another tight game between the two clubs.
“Every opponent in our conference is very difficult,” Marcina said. “They are one of the better teams in the league. It was a great challenge, both teams competed and competed well and both teams created opportunities. We just fell short in that final action.”
With seven games remaining, SAFC is trying to get within the top two spots in the Mountain Division to earn home-field advantage in the USL Championship playoffs opening round.
SAFC is locked in a battle with Colorado Switchbacks FC, who won 3-1 over the Austin Bold on Saturday night, trailing the club by three points. Just nine points separate second place and fifth place in the division while seven points are between first and third place.
“You have to be sharp in front of goal, especially in tighter games. Tonight, was a good game for us in terms of high intensity,” SAFC Defender Axel Sjoberg said. “Its like a playoff game normally is. We just have to learn from it and put away our chances is what it comes down to.”
San Antonio FC is now 11-7-7 (40 points) on the season and will return to the pitch next Sunday at 6 p.m. against the OKC Energy FC (7-8-10) to start a brief two-game road trip.