NEW MEXICO UNITED DEFIANTLY ESCAPE LUCK OF THE DRAW AGAINST TACOMA DEFIANCE
Match 5, POST-MATCH EDITION: New Mexico United rally together late behind Kevaughn Frater’s goal to earn second victory of the season, 2-1 FT over Tacoma Defiance
By Christopher Walker | April 2, 2019 |email@example.com
New Mexico United’s Pistons Keep Firing in 90 Minute Marathon
From the onset, Tacoma Defiance did not resemble a team on a two-game losing streak. Their roster full of players from the Sounders FC Academy all healthy and eager to make a name for themselves. Tacoma had just played LA Galaxy II and Tulsa being blanked a total of 7 goals. Right from kickoff, Tacoma looked solid, completing touch passes, striking into New Mexico territory and taking shots as they came available. On defense, Tacoma pressed in hard and took advantage of a loosely-laced New Mexico United struggling early on with connecting their passes to each other as Tacoma stepped in to intercept balls then charging down the pitch eager to catch New Mexico off guard. One attempt succeeded, appearing to send shock to New Mexico that Tacoma on paper may not be the same Tacoma on the pitch.
New Mexico United has something to prove itself, its fans, and the USL. This has been the narrative from match to match and opposing teams have entered play pocketing a second half advantage. New Mexico United continue to struggle with building a solid effort to their defensive strategy due to constant run-ins with player injury. New Mexico entered Cheney Stadium Friday evening seeking to run a full 90 minutes alongside Tacoma Defiance. New Mexico United’s 90-minute game strategy is coming together match by match in tandem. Kevaughn Frater should have left Washington with at least one hat trick Friday night. Frater registered 7 shots on the night, scoring one goal by header at 77 minutes connecting with Santi Moar on a cross pass. Undoubtedly, Frater’s physical readiness gave energy to his comrades as New Mexico United riddled shot after shot towards the Tacoma Defiance goal in the second half.
At some point, Tacoma Defiance goalkeeper, Trey Muse had to take cover with shots being fire from all sides of the box, inside and out. Moar, Ryan Williams, and David Estrada got in on the action and it got out of control. It was a different New Mexico United during the second half of this match. New Mexico was able to control the tempo of the game once they recovered at 25 minutes (Williams goal) from an early deficit to Tacoma Defiance. New Mexico is running on all cylinders making sense of substitutions to keep the high level of intensity in their game strategy.
Chemistry Carousel: Kevaughn Frater and Justin Schmidt are a Dynamic Duo
New Mexico United continue to experiment with its players on their starting eleven to form winning combinations on the pitch. Friday evening in Tacoma Washington, Kevaughn Frater, in tow with Justin Schmidt, put on a mini-exhibition converting long passes into shots on target in Tacoma Defiance goal territory. Schmidt, who sat out against Orange County, returned to the lineup fresh and showcased his ability to accurately connect passes at varied long ranges to players within striking distance of the goal. Previous matches have seen Manny Padilla and Josh Suggs connect with Santi Moar on his shots for eventual goals scored. These rotations are giving New Mexico a good idea of where to place its players on the pitch the yield the best results. It will be key to see how New Mexico integrates Kevin Williams and Chris Wehan into the attack and which midfielder or defender compliments their style skills.
New Mexico’s Shot Rating Just as Hot as Their Chile
On the night, New Mexico United combined for a total of 22 shots, which is equal to the total amount of shots they have taken all year. New Mexico usually plays a far more conservative role only taking shots when there is a clear shot on target. This new approach will create more chances for New Mexico to score so long as their opponent retreats at the sight of their quick transition from defense to the attack. Of course, New Mexico must find a happy medium, which could be taking 20 shots a game with 10 being on target and 4 being for scores. The final score of this match should have been 4 to 1.
Saturday, April 6, 2019, New Mexico United conclude their 3-game away match away from home against Rio Grande Valley FC Toros.
Feature Image Photo Credit: Josh Lane Photograpy
Christopher Walker is a beat reporter for the Seek and Strike Collective covering the beat on New Mexico United and Albuquerque Sol soccer. Follow him on Twitter @_ChrisWalker505