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United wins impressively at Oklahoma City

From left, Romeo Parkes, Chris Wehan and Josh Suggs celebrate for New Mexico United during its win Saturday over OKC Energy. (OKC Energy courtesy photo)

Chris Wehan’s right foot was again magic, goalkeeper Cody Mizell had a clean sheet, and New Mexico United’s surge continued with perhaps its most complete performance of the USL Championship season.

United scored two goals in stoppage time, Wehan produced his fourth goal in four games, and New Mexico beat OKC Energy 3-0 at Taft Stadium in Oklahoma City on Saturday night.

New Mexico (3-1-1 overall, but 3-0-1 since the season restart) earned three road points and still show the way in Group C with 10 points.

The white-hot Wehan had a goal and an assist for United.

A pristine passing sequence set up the opening tally for New Mexico in its highest-scoring game so far this season.

Wehan, in the box, eventually crossed to Amando Moreno in the 31st minute. Energy goalkeeper CJ Cochran was out of position as he faced Wehan, and Moreno dove and appeared to redirect the cross off his chest and into the net as he had inside position on an OKC defender.

In the final 15 seconds of the third minute of stoppage time, United authored another pretty goal.

Romeo Parkes, in the starting linup in place of injured Devon Sandoval, played a through ball to Daniel Bruce, who had made a magnificent run up the field after trailing the play by some 30 yards.

On the run, Bruce offered a two-bounce cross to the far post, where Wehan was waiting.

As the ball bounced a second time on the fast artificial turf at Taft Stadium, Wehan pounced and drilled a shot past Cochran, who was helpless to make the stop. Only one player in USL Championship has more goals this season than Wehan’s four.

United was dominant at both ends throughout the first half, with the Energy mustering just a single shot on goal.

OKC Energy (1-2-2) was somewhat more rejuvenated after halftime, with multiple great looks.

Kalen Ryden was called for a penalty in the box for United in the 50th minute, but the subsequent penalty by Jaime Chavez was pushed low and wide right of the net.

Six minutes later, OKC forward Frank Lopez’s outstanding left-footed chance from 6 yards out was stopped by Mizell. In the 72nd minute, Arun Basuljevic’s blast sailed just over the crossbar.

Four minutes into second-half stoppage time, United rookie Joris Ahlinvi — a late substitute, having entered in the 88th minute — had the final goal. His initial free kick ricocheted off the OKC Energy wall, bounced back to his feet, and he pounced on the second chance, firing low past Cochran from the top of the 18-yard box.

Mizell preserved the clean sheet with the best his four saves, a leaping, one-handed redirect in the eighth and final minute of stoppage time in the second half.

NOTE: Sandoval missed the match with a lower back injury, but New Mexico hopes he will be back for Saturday’s trip to Phoenix.

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