Stoppage time has generally been unkind to New Mexico United this season. Saturday night was a different story.
Neco Brett converted on a well-placed header from Devon Sandoval during second-half stoppage time and United pulled out a 2-2 road draw with Detroit City FC.
After trailing for most of the second half, New Mexico (9-3-8) dominated the final seven minutes and finally got an equalizer. Brett fired wide on an open opportunity in the 90th minute but didn’t let a second chance slip away in the second minute of extra time.
Chris Wehan tallied the other goal for United, which was outshot 16-10 overall but had a 6-3 advantage in shots on goal.
“I really appreciate the effort and attitude we showed toward the end of the game,” United coach Zach Prince said in a postgame interview. “I think we could’ve taken the initiative sooner and we had some missed opportunities, but getting that late score was big.”
It was a hard-earned point for United in front of a sellout crowd of 7,470 fans at Keyworth Stadium.
Detroit City FC (9-4-8) grabbed a 2-1 lead on Deklan Wynne’s driving goal in the 62nd minute and did its best to burn much of the remaining time with substitutions and other stalling tactics, two of which earned yellow cards for the hosts.
But United amped up its pressure, finally capitalizing on a well-executed play. Justin Portillo served a ball toward the top of the Detroit box where Sandoval headed it forward and to his right. The ball found Brett in an open area, and he blasted a low shot under the left hand of DCFC goalkeeper Nathan Steinwascher.
Brett tied Portillo for the team lead with his sixth goal of the season.
“Coming back shows we’re a great team,” Prince said, “zero doubt about that. It shows in that we don’t lose games. But even though we scored late, we still left two points on the table. That’s the way I see it.”
New Mexico forced the pace early with strong defensive pressure, but Detroit collected the first goal when a wild scramble in front of United’s led to a takedown of Detroit’s Connor Rutz. A penalty kick was ultimately awarded and Maxi Rodriguez drilled it to give Detroit a 1-0 lead in the 25th minute.
United answered quickly after Jerome Kiesewetter was fouled in the 30th minute. Wehan capitalized on the resulting free kick with a 25-yard rocket just over Detroit’s wall and into the upper right corner of the goal.
Wehan, playing his first match in several weeks after a lower body injury, nearly scored again on two occasions: first on a step-through in front early in the second half and later on another free kick in the 73rd minute. Steinwascher came up with key saves on both opportunities.
United goalkeeper Alex Tambakis had little chance to stop Detroit’s go-ahead goal after a lead pass from Rutz allowed Wynne to slip behind New Mexico’s defense. His left-footed shot appeared likely to send NMU to its first road defeat since April.
But the visitors, who have been victimized by several late goals this season, quieted the crowd and picked up a point.