ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — They took nearly twice as many shots, They played much of the game on the opponents’ end of the field.
And if soccer was scored for aggression – like a fight – the University of New Mexico Lobos had the edge in Saturday night’s men’s soccer battle as well.
Unfortunately for the Lobos, the only category that counts is on the scoreboard, where UNM ended up on the short end of a 1-0 decision.
San Francisco’s Connor Chinn beat New Mexico goalkeeper Justin Fite in a one-on-one situation in the 86th minute to score the game’s only goal as the 22nd-ranked Dons spoiled the Lobos home opener in front of 2,005 fans at the UNM Soccer Complex on Saturday night.
“It happened real fast, I can’t remember how it happened,” Fite said. “It looked like he was offside, but the flag stayed down and it was just a breakaway, one (versus) one. … I thought we played real well defensively, but it’s just one mental lapse and the other team scores a goal.”
New Mexico controlled the action for the better part of 85 minutes but couldn’t take advantage of several decent scoring opportunities. The Lobos held a 17-to-9 edge in shots on goal at the end of the night.
“It was a game where we had numerous chances,” said UNM head coach Jeremy Fishbein. “We played pretty well, we dominated the game and we didn’t finish in the final third. I think the telling figure, for the amount of shots we had, was the lack of having them on frame.
“Our guys are pretty are pretty good attackers, but if you don’t score goals, you give teams openings.”
It was the second of five games in a row against ranked opponents for New Mexico. The Lobos defeated No. 21 St. Louis on the road in their season opener. Up next is a trip to Indiana for games against the No. 6 Hoosiers on Friday followed by a Sunday tilt against No. 12 Notre Dame.
Clearly there is little chance to dwell on what might have been against the Dons.
“What you learn from it is you have to bounce back. It’s just one game,” said Fite. “It’s a long road to December. Just go at it Monday and start focusing on the next game. We can’t dwell on it too much. We’ll talk about it tonight and just make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
San Francisco’s victory evened the all-time series between the two schools at three apiece. New Mexico had won the previous two meetings 2-0 and 1-0 in 2007 and 2006, respectively.
NOTE: New Mexico midfielder Dominique Romero limped off the field with 24 minutes to go in the first half.
“We don’t know, he’s going to get an MRI, but it wasn’t the knee he previously had surgery on,” Fishbein said. “I don’t know if that’s a positive or a negative. He’s hurting right now.”