By Seth Biddulph | April 12, 2019 | firstname.lastname@example.org
After three long weeks on the road New Mexico United (2-0-4) have finally returned to the friendly confines of Isotopes Park. This Saturday night, April 13, New Mexico United will play host to conference, and Four Corners Cup, rivals Real Monarchs SLC (2-1-2).
New Mexico United are already on the board with one match within the Four Corners cup, a 3-3 draw against Phoenix Rising. A win on Saturday could put United in the early driver’s seat for the Cup.
A win would also extend the already record setting start to an inaugural season set by New Mexico United. The clubs are currently separated by two points in the conference standings and a win for either side could be a spark for the season going forward. Over the last two weeks, New Mexico United have shown an improved defensive unit allowing only one goal in nearly 190 minutes of play. After having some late match issues in the first few weeks, the defensive effort led by captain Josh Suggs and great goalkeeping by Cody Mizell there are some very promising signs for the club.
Playing last week against Rio Grande Valley without forwards Devon Sandoval and Kevaughn Frater, New Mexico United attack was unable to put anything on goal against the loaned defense from the Houston Dynamo. Even with the defensive help that RGV received, New Mexico United were able to move the ball with ease in the first half and set themselves up for some very good chances to get in on goal.
For New Mexico United to succeed this week, they’ll have to continue to move the ball efficiently and get their opponents out of shape. Coach Troy Lesesne has the club playing with confidence and the crowd is sure to be an important factor on Saturday night.
New Mexico United Players to watch
Santi Moar – The newly minted USL Championship Player of the Month has been explosive in the first month of the season. With four goals already, Santi is showing just how dangerous he can be on the wing. The combination of Moar and Josh Suggs has proven to be invaluable for New Mexico United attack and the duo look to continue their run great performances.
Cody Mizell – Currently third in the league in saves, Mizell has come up big for New Mexico United when they need him to. His experience and leadership in the defending third have helped this defense gel early. Coming off of his first clean sheet of the season, the club looks to put another notch in the win column.
New Mexico United Team Leaders
- Goals: Santi Moar (4)
- Assists: Josh Suggs (2)
- Saves: Cody Mizell (21)
Although the Monarchs have only won two matches so far, they are not a club to be taken lightly. Both of their wins have come in their last three matches and have had six different players score for them already in the campaign. Even with the improved form of late, SLC have not found any sort of consistency yet, especially on the road.
Dating back to last season, the Monarchs have lost 10 of their away matches leaving much to be desired. In their most recent road match, SLC was defeated by Las Vegas 1-0.
SLC have shown that they can slip into a defensive 4-4-2 and just as easily come back on the counter. As a club that needs to find some rhythm, United’s scheme can take advantage of this and force the issue with the same high press we’ve seen throughout the season.
Real Monarchs Players to watch
Maikel Chang – As the Monarchs leading scorer, Chang has the ability to turn a match on its head. United will need to find a way to put some physical pressure onto Chang in order to disrupt his game.
Jack Blake – The Monarch midfielder is second on the club in scoring and has already contributed with five chances created. Blake can be a force out of the midfield but as with Chang some physical play and getting Blake turned around can force him out of his element.
Real Monarchs SLC Team Leaders
- Goals: Maikel Chang (3)
- Assists: Douglas Martinez (2)
- Saves: David Ochoa (23)
The match will be streamed live on ESPN+ beginning at 7:30 p.m. (Mountain). International viewers will be able to watch the match live on YouTube. ESPN+ is viewable online via the ESPN app or across a variety of mobile and connected living room devices, including Amazon’s Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku and more.
Featured Image Photo Credit: Josh Lane Photography
Seth Biddulph is a beat reporter for the Seek and Strike Collective covering the beat on New Mexico United. Follow him on Twitter@SethBiddulph