SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Second-half goals by Oniel Fisher and James Rogers gave the eighth-ranked University of New Mexico men’s soccer team a 2-0 win over San Diego Sunday night. It was the Lobos’ and freshman keeper Jason Beaulieu’s second clean sheet of the weekend.
UNM (4-1-0) handed the Toreros (2-1-3) their first loss of the season while earning their first win of 2014 by multiple goals on an uncharacteristically hot evening in San Diego with temperatures approaching 90 degrees at kickoff.
UNM should’ve opened the scoring in the 26th minute. Niko Hansen split three defenders and won a corner. Josh Goss’ service found Hansen after USD’s keeper leapt for it and missed, but with a wide open net Hansen’s shot glanced off the back of Rogers and was cleared.
The Toreros had the next great chance after a defensive miscommunication between Beaulieu and Chris Gurule. Beaulieu was issued a yellow card and USD had a free kick at the top of the box. It was well struck but the freshman from Montreal saw it all the way and made the save.
"We came out great and it was pretty hot in the first half," UNM head coach Jeremy Fishbein said. "Our ball speed and movement was great. Then we didn’t finish a couple chances and we just got tired. I think the fatigue of the weekend and the heat kicked in. We got sloppy and they got a couple of opportunities."
Then with just a minute remaining in the first half Sam Gleadle stole the ball and it appeared the Lobos would have a 3-on-1 from about 20 yards out. But Hansen was just barely offside and the play was blown dead.
Shortly after halftime, Chris Wehan, who scored the game-winner in Friday’s match at Northridge, dispossessed a Torero and sprung the Lobos on a break. He eventually ended up with the ball at the top of the box and fired a high shot that had to be touched over the bar.
Shortly after Rogers won the ball and sprung Hansen behind the defense. Hansen’s shot was saved but it went right to Fisher who buried it into the open net at the 51:18 mark. It was his third career goal and third career game-winning goal.
Rogers’ goal came in the 70th minute. Immediately following a USD sub that put more attacking players forward, Gleadle found the ball with some space in the middle of the pitch. He slid a pass to Rogers who poked it past the keeper and off the far post and into the net.
"I challenged the guys at halftime," Fishbein said. "Oniel’s goal early set the tone and a nice second by James was great to see."
Meanwhile, the Lobos’ defense really clamped down after allowing five shots in the opening half. After being outshot 5-2 in the first half, the Lobos finished with an 11-7 shot advantage for the match. The backline caught the Toreros offside numerous times and didn’t allow much space for creating chances.
Any chance USD did have, however, was swallowed up by Beaulieu, who earned his second clean sheet of the weekend. He recorded three saves and snagged every cross that came into his area.
"It was another strong performance by Jason," said Fishbein. "Nick Rochowski came in, started and gave us good minutes (on defense). He’s coming off a rib injury but it was good to see him out there. It was a good team win and a good road trip for us."
New Mexico (51:16): Fisher (Hansen)
New Mexico (69:35): Rogers (Gleadle)
New Mexico: Beaulieu (37:32)
New Mexico: Beaulieu (GK), Gibbons, McGovern, Miele, Rogers, Correa, Fisher, Rochowski, Dye, Goss
San Diego: Olsen (GK), Price, Fiskerstrand, Turner, Vierya, Brandt, Dearmas, Zimmer, Cantas, Macleod, Ringhof
The Lobos conclude return to Albuquerque and host The TLC Utility and Plumbing Tournament next weekend with matches vs. Drexel (Friday, 7 p.m. MT) and VCU (Sunday, 6 p.m. MT).