HUNTINGTON, W. VA. --- The University of New Mexico men's soccer team earned its first Conference USA victory of the season on the road at Marshall on Saturday night by a score of 2-1, marking head coach Jeremy Fishbein's 299th career victory. The Lobos are once again receiving votes in the national rankings.
For the second-straight game, senior Sam Gleadle came in clutch, scoring the gamewinner in the 81st minute to break a 1-1 tie. In UNM's most recent match against South Carolina last Friday, it was Gleadle that found the back of the net with 1:17 left in regulation to send the squads into overtime.
The Lobos improve to 5-3-1 on the season, 1-1-1 in C-USA play while Marshall, which has demonstrated a much-improved offense under first-year head coach Chris Grassie, falls to 5-4-1, 1-2-0 C-USA. Last season, the Thundering Herd finished 6-11-1 (1-6-1 C-USA) but has been led by freshman Lewis Knight who has tallied 19 points on eight goals and three assists this season.
"I'm really happy to get the win on the road. Marshall is very good at home and they are a much improved team with some dynamic players," Fishbein said. "I think we controlled the game in the first half but they made it difficult to create really good scoring chances. At halftime, we identified some things, but made a fairly big mistake at the beginning of the second half and you don't want to be in that situation where you are chasing the game.
"We got the first one back on a great play by Aaron Herrera and the second one was a really well-played ball from Devin Boyce. Sam Gleadle got across the keeper's face and got a toe on it for the winner. This was by no means a comfortable or easy win. It's a good reminder that there are no easy games and we can't take these things forgranted."
The Lobos are now 2-3-1 this season when their opponent strikes first, 36-62-13 in Fishbein's tenure.
Neither team was able to capitalize on slim scoring opportunities in the first half. At the break, both teams had posted just two shots, one on goal, while Marshall led in corner kicks 2-1.
It was in the second period that Marshall notched the first goal of the game for a 1-0 lead just 1:06 into the second half. Knight brought the ball up the left side of the box, sent in into the middle where Brayan Lopez-Mendez one-touched it from five yards out in front of the net. Lopez-Mendez tapped it just past Lobo keeper Beaulieu for the 1-0 Herd advantage.
The Lobos furiously looked for the equalizer and found it in the 66th minute. The Marshall defense deflected a Lobo advance back to midfield but it continued to bounce between players and ended back in the UNM offensive third where sophomore defender Matt Dorsey collected it. Dorsey quickly sent it into the center of the box to junior Aaron Herrera where he fired into the bottom left corner of the box to tie it 1-1.
The goal marked Herrera's second of the season, Dorsey's first assist.
The gamewinner came in the 81st minute when Boyce took a free kick from the far left wing. He sent a good ball into the box where Gleadle was able to finish it off into the back of the net for the eventual 2-1 victory.
Overall the Lobos outshot the Herd 13-9, but registered four shots on goal to five for Marshall. Both teams tied with four corner kicks apiece. Herrera and Lewis led their squads with four shots each.
Beaulieu improves to 5-3-1 and collected four saves in 90 minutes while Marshall's Ben Martinez is 1-2-0 and had a pair of saves on the night.
The Lobos finish their three-game road stand on Wednesday, October 4 when they travel to Loyola Marymount for a non-conference matchup at 8 p.m. MT. UNM will return home for a three-game stretch at the UNM Soccer Complex on Saturday, October 7 when it hosts Florida Atlantic.
"We're going to enjoy this win, then recover properly," Fishbein said. "We'll get home tomorrow night, head back on the road Tuesday and embrace our challenges. We're looking forward to getting back home Oct. 7 against FAU."