Road Warriors

With a chance to ice the match, Chris Wehan lined up a penalty kick in the 3rd minute of second half stoppage time. His run up was confident and he powered a shot towards the bottom left hand corner. Logan Ketterer guesses correctly though and perried the shot away, keeping El Paso’s hope alive.

In the end it didn’t matter. United hung on and vaulted themselves to the top spot in group C. The nail biting nature of the last few minutes wasn’t indicative to how I felt during the vast majority of the match.

El Paso had some scary crosses early in the first half but there was never anybody on the receiving end. Then NMU took control. In the 35th minute Austin Yearwood earned a free kick from a dangerous angle. Devon Sandoval fought off the defense and got is head to it directing it to the near post where the aforementioned Wehan was waiting unchecked and put the ball into the top of the net.

14 minutes later Wehan dispossessed El Paso near midfield and found Moreno who took one touch before passing it up ahead to Sandoval who also took one touch before firing the ball to the lower left corner past a flat footed Ketterer who couldn’t get stop it. NMU took that 2-0 lead to halftime and thanks to a couple of great Cody Mizell saves. The first in the 63rd minute from a deflected shot outside the box from Richie Ryan. The second came off of a free kick that found Yuma’s head and was headed for the crossbar or just below it. Both of them have a chance to be the USL save of the week.

United was cruising after that until a penalty on Kalen Ryden led to El Paso’s lone goal. The Wehan penalty chance that could have sealed the match came off of some brilliant work from Daniel Bruce. Bruce came in in the 71st minute and in second half stoppage time he had the ball just inside the box with 2 El Paso defenders on him. He drove towards the touch line then cut back between the 2 defenders and got tripped up. Wehan proceeded to miss as mentioned above but in the end El Paso couldn’t muster anything else up as time finally ran out.

3 things

  1. Austin Yearwood and emergency Center Back Saalih Muhammad.
    They did a fantastic job on the left side of the defense. Yearwood has been underrated since coming to New Mexico last year but his hustle and length help him shut down that left side. Muhammad got the somewhat surprising start at Center Back a long side Kalen Ryden and performed solidly. He was forced to leave his normal midfield role because of injuries to Rashid Tetteh, Sam Hamilton, and Justin Schmidt.
  2. The Defense as a Whole.
    This matched saw the return of one back line member that we hadn’t seen since the restart, Josh Suggs. He was a breath of fresh next to Kalen Ryden and even with a makeshift duo of Center Backs the defense held its own and probably should have had the shut out. Cody Mizell also had a fantastic game with 2 great saves and the only goal coming from the spot
  3. Chris Wehan is Everywhere.
    Since the restart Wehan has 3 goals and could have had a fourth had he converted the PK. He scored the opening goal in this match and stole the ball that led to the second goal. He has been pesky on defense, versatile on offense, and has had solid finishing. Him and Devon create a dangerous duo up front for NMU