Chris Wehan certainly needs no introduction to New Mexico men’s soccer fans.
But Old Dominion could have done without meeting him Saturday.
Wehan, a midfielder who already leads the No. 18 Lobos in scoring, added to his total with a couple of standout goals, leading UNM to a 4-0 victory over the Monarchs before a listed turnout of 2,553.
“Wehan had two great goals,” Lobos coach Jeremy Fishbein said. “The second one was pretty fantastic. The funny thing is, he had the same thing happen against these guys last year. He kind of broke the game open with just a bomb from 25 yards. It’s pretty nice to see.”
Wehan started the scoring in the 25th minute, beginning the play in the midfield with a quick run, sliding it over to Niko Hansen, who sent a through a ball into the penalty area. Wehan touched it past onrushing goalkeeper Alex Tiesenhausen, then slipped but was able to recover and knock it in the open net.
“Something I was thinking about before the game was I haven’t combined with Niko. I think I played off of Niko one time all season,” Wehan said. “It was a great combination, a great through ball from Niko. I touched it past the keeper and the next thing I knew my feet just went out from under me. I got up and I still thought I had a lot of time and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a guy running and I just poked it in.”
Almost 10 minutes later, Wehan delivered a booming rocket of a shot from 30 yards out that sizzled into the net.
“I wanted to play Ben (McKendry) and I kind of gave him a bad pass and he did well to keep it,” Wehan said. “He gave it back and I was looking for the next pass. No one stepped and nothing opened up and I just hit it. I knew right when I hit it that it was a good one.”
It’s the first two-goal game of his career and gives him seven this season.
Josh Goss added a goal late in the first half after some nifty footwork from Kevin Correa to set it up, and the Lobos (10-3-1, 3-2-0 in Conference USA) also forced an own goal in the second half.
Although ODU’s Christian Schroeer drilled a free kick off the post, the Monarchs only managed one other reasonable scoring chance, but Lobo goalkeeper Patrick Poblete knocked it away early in the second half.
It was the type of performance New Mexico sought after losing 1-0 at Kentucky on Wednesday.
“This was our best performance of the year,” Fishbein said. “I don’t think (ODU) has ever lost by four goals. It’s a top-30 team. The response and mentality was just fantastic. We’ve been good other games. The difference was we took our chances. We scored some very good goals. Just kind of relentless in the attack. … It was a pretty complete performance. It’s what we needed.”
The players met earlier Saturday to discuss how to play better against Old Dominion (7-5-1, 2-2-1) and it worked, Wehan said.
“It was a different group than we saw in Kentucky, but we really took it to heart,” he said. “It was the guys more on their own than through the coaches. … We really laid out the groundwork that we wanted to see some goals.”